Thursday, November 27, 2008

Rhiannons school work.

Rhiannons teacher took me to one side at school this morning. "Just a little word Mrs Baynham..."

I just knew I wasn't going to like what I heard. Mrs Cootes had a smile on her face that was smug and knowing as only a teacher can. She told me that Rhiannon wrote some very interesting answers on her school work yesterday. They were discussing needs and wants. They were asked to write out a list of things people need to be healthy and happy and then write out where or how you get these things.

Rhiannon had written that we need a house to keep us dry. Where do we get houses? From the house shop...? The smile on Mrs Cootes face was turning into a grin. But the grin was getting wider and her eyes were crinkling up. I was wondering what else Rhiannon had written. The other thing we need according to Rhiannon is exercise. Nothing too funny about that I was thinking. But where did Rhiannon think that her Mummy got exercise. At work? At the gym? Wait for it... From "Jim"

JIM, and who might JIM be asked Mrs Cootes! And does Rhiannon's Dad know him!!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


I have never minded spiders. As a kid I would happily rescue them from the bath and throw them gently out the window.

Now that we live in Australia I have a healthier respect for them. This means that instead of rescuing them I am more than happy to squish them, spray them, anything as long as they are dead at the end of it.

I had great fun at a local wetlands center when I found a huntsman spider. It was a medium sized one and had great big jaws but had something going for it that made me happy to pose for photos....

It was dead!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy 6th Birthday Gareth!

Happy Birthday Gareth!

6 today!

It was an early start. We had to wake Gar up at 6am so that I could wish him a Happy Birthday before going off to work.

He was a bit sleepy and not sure what to make of us when he opened his eyes to find all 4 of us in his room, blinds being opened, balloons all over the floor, gifts ready to be opened! ...but he soon woke up and joined in the spirit of things.

Thank you everyone who sent cards and parcels. He loved all his presents!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Oh S*%$&#.......

I'm not perfect. I have been known to use some colourful language in my younger days. However, now that I am a Mum, I don't like to use any kind of bad language infront of the kids. I dont need to get a phonecall from school asking me where my precious kindy kid learnt to swear like a trooper. Occasionally though words will escape our mouths without warning. Like when Byron carried a VERY hot tin out of the oven and couldn't find a clear spot on the counter to drop it quickly enough. I'm sure it wasn't a nice feeling nearly burning his hands off and so I forgive him the expletive that he yelled at the top of his lungs.


Rhiannon looked up in glee.

"Daddy, Thats a very rude word. We are not supposed to use words like that"

Byron looked like he was doing his best not to repeat this word as he gritted his teeth and held his poor red hands under his armpits.

"I know Rhiannon but I am a grown up and sometimes grown ups do use rude words like that if they are very, very angry or very, very sore"

Rhiannons eyes twinkled as she looked from Byron to me and back to Byron again.

"Ok Dad"

long pause .......

"Dad?" (Rhiannon grinning from ear to ear)

"Yes Rhiannon" (Byron trying not to laugh)

"Can you tell me some more words we are not supposed to say!!!" (Rhiannon exploding into giggles)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Gareths early Birthday celebration

Gareth is going to be 6 next week.

We hadn't really got around to thinking about a party and the birthday was creeping up on us. Mr B decided (without much consultation) that it would be fun to have an impromptu birthday celebration THIS SATURDAY..... Oh the joy of the last minute racing around, telling friends and apologising for the short notice. The fact that I had only one day off work this week, one day to buy food, clean the house, make a cake. Oh, and did I mention that this one day was also a pupil free day so the kids had no school? Remind me again why I love you Mr B? Something about you being spontaneous and funny and making me laugh....

Friday went by in a blur of vacuuming, mopping floors, cleaning bathrooms, threatening the kids with death if they dared to undo all my hard work by emptying out the dressing up box, face painting or making bubble pictures with the liquid soap on the bathroom mirrors... We went to bed on Friday night in a clean house with loads of balloons and dodgy weather forcast of high winds and storms, no party games planned just hopes that the pool would be enough entertainment..... Aaaarrrggghhhh!!!!

Saturday morning the sun was shining.

7 friends came up the driveway whooping with excitement, swimmers in one hand, goggles in the other.

They played, they swam, they ate, they laughed. They didn't care that a few days earlier nothing had been planned.

They just had a ball as kids do and made it all worth while.

I guess you were right Mr B! as always....

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New bed

When we left the UK three years ago we had to sell a lot of our possessions. It was hardest on the kids. We sold all their bedroom furniture including beds and promised them that when they got to Australia they could have ANY bed they wanted in the bed shop.

Sian chose a huge bunk bed with a desk underneath and a futon chair that folded out into a single bed for sleepovers. Rhiannon chose a cabin bed, medium height with cupboards, shelves and a pull out desk underneath. Gareth looked around the whole shop and refused to choose any bed. He wanted a "Tiger bed"

He was not quite three years old and we could not get him to elaborate on what exactly a "Tiger bed" was. He inherited a simple single bed from Anne. It had been his Auntie Rhonda's when she grew out of her cot thirty years before! One day as we walked down the local street he shouted and pointed from his buggy. "There it is, there's my tiger bed" It was a bed linen set on sale in a local shop. It had pictures of elephants, bears, giraffes.... and tigers! We bought it and for the last three years Gareth has been happy with his "Tiger bed"

This year we asked him what he wanted for his birthday. We thought he might want a toy but instead he asked for a new bed. We went around the bed shops and he ended up choosing exactly the same bed as Rhiannon has in her room. It was delivered today.

I got home from a very physical day at work in theatre minutes before the school bus pulled up. Byron had worked from home for the day to be there for the bed delivery. I helped the kids finish their weeks homework, washed out lunchboxes, refilled drink bottles and started preparing dinner. I was heading out to work again at 5.30pm so when Mr B called me upstairs and asked me how long I thought it would take two of us to assemble the bed you can just imagine my response. But then the challenge kicked in. Me, Byron, flat pack furniture, a stopwatch, the advantage of having put an identical bed together 3 years ago on my own! How hard could it be???

....and so began two hours of cursing, huffing and puffing as we emptied Gareth's room, assembled the new bed and I ran up and down the stairs to check on a dinner that was boiling over in the kitchen! I left for work, late, dripping in sweat and having thrown dinner at the kids and Byron but with a fantastic new bed in Gareth's room. The only disappointing thing was not getting to share in the excitement of tucking him up in it as he went to sleep in it for the first time.

Here is a photo of him looking chuffed just before going to sleep in his new bed that still has the great "Tiger" bedlinen on it!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Look Mum, No Tooth!

Gar is growing up...

He lost one of his front teeth this week. The other one is really wobbly. I don't know what his face will look like when the two small baby teeth are gone and big adult teeth replace them.

Sometimes I wish I could stop time and keep him just as he is forever.


Sunday, November 16, 2008

There's a rat in my kitchen what am I gonna do?

Last Christmas Sian wanted a pet rat

I didn't want her to have a pet rat.
Byron didn't want her to have a pet rat.

Byron said " If you still want one by next Christmas you can have one"

This year Sian still wants a pet rat.
This year I still don't want her to have a pet rat.
This year Byron still doesn't want her to have a pet rat.

I went to work tonight. When I came home he told me he had got her a rat...

Before I filed for Divorce he explained he had brought them all to McDonalds for tea. Guess what the current toy is....

Friday, November 14, 2008

The kids have been nagging us for a long, long time to let them go swimming "In the DARK"

This weekend we gave in and on Friday after tennis we dashed home before the sun set so Byron could check for spiders before the kids got in. Darkness falls pretty quickly here in Australia. One minute it is bright and sunny and within about 15 minutes the sun sets and it becomes incredibly dark. We sat on the swing seat and watched as the kids squealed, jumped, splashed and generally had a ball.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

..and more pics.

Day two over and done with and I'm physically exhausted.

Today was a full theatre list so lots more pushing beds, running up stairs two at a time and mopping theatre floors at high speed while the next patient was waiting to be wheeled in.

I am getting the hang of pushing the large rubbish skips through the basement corridors at speed, just God help anyone behind any of the swing doors as I come hurtling through!

I think I am holding my own now. I shared the workload fairly evenly with the other wardsman, despite the fact that he really is a wardsman, about 2 foot taller than me and with a few more muscles. I even managed to get given the job of holding unconcious legs up high in the air while the surgeons cleaned them down and draped them in sterile wraps, a job I was deemed not strong enough for yesterday but they decided to give me a go today. My arms were nearly falling out of their sockets by the time I could let go but at least I managed!

I'm off to make a cup of tea now and see if there is anything in the freezer for dinner...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Wardsman: Day one

Today was my first day in my new job as Theatre Wardsman. I went in at 7am and got changed into "scrubs" the standard theatre uniform. On went the blue paper overshoes and the white bandana and I was ready to get started.

I was told that my job was to transport patients to theatre from the Day Surgery Unit and the wards. This meant pushing wheelchairs, theatre trolleys or beds depending on the operation. I was told that I would not be working inside the actual theatre where all the real action takes place.

I walked into chaos. The air-conditioning system had broken down and with no natural ventilation theatre was starting to warm up. The fact that the sterilising department with their huge autoclave ovens are within theatre didn't help. All major surgery was on-hold and only smaller cases could be done. This meant that the regular staff were less busy than normal so I got loads of advice and got shown around the theatre and had lots of things explained to me that they probably wouldn't have had time for on a normal day.

As the work pace picked up I found that my job description was a little less than accurate. Although I was running up and down stairs fetching and carrying I was also spending a fair amount of time inside the operating theatre preparing it for the next case. I had to help the theatre nurses while the patient was anaesthetised and then hold up limbs as the blood was drained from them and tourniquets were applied and the limb was washed down in that brown pre-op cleansing liquid and draped in green cloths.

When the surgeons finished their surgery my walky-talky went off calling me to that theatre to help transfer the patients back onto the trolley to be wheeled to recovery. When I had finished that I had to go back into the dirty theatre and get out the bucket and mop and mop all the blood off the floor. Arrggghhh!!! For anyone that knows me you are probably wondering if this is true or just Gina spicing up the story! You are right, really I was just mopping what looked like a spotlessly clean floor but it sounded exciting didn't it!

Another of my jobs was to keep emptying the bins and the linen-skips of dirty sheets etc. They were to be thrown into a huge container on wheels. When this trolley was full I had to push it through the gloomy basement corridors and pick the bags up and throw them up into the big linen carriers that will be lifted into the back of the trucks and taken to Sydney for washing. I think my arms will be like Popeye after a few weeks. I think my legs will be too at the pace that the other Wardsmen climb the stairs. They take them two at a time and I was running trying to keep up with them!

At lunchtime I found out it was "Peri-Operative Nurses Day". I had no idea exactly what that meant other than I could smell pizza! In celebration of the day someone had decided to treat the nurses to a big order of Domino's pizza. Everyone was told to tuck in. Pizza never tasted so good!

I really enjoyed today. It was a world away from any job I have ever done before. It was very physically demanding and I think that I will be very tired by the end of the working week. However everyone I met today was really friendly and I kept being thanked for the jobs I was doing. In the end feeling that I did a good days work and was appreciated made me walk back to my car with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. There isn't much more I can ask for than that.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Message for Jonesy

Hi Gareth Jones in Edinburgh.

This message is for you.

Yes, you Gar.

Byron's friend from childhood, Best man at our wedding and Godfather to our middle child. Ever since Chris arrived you have been talked about.

I think Byron and Chris are missing you so they made you this little video to say "Hi"....

Identity confusion.

I know lots about "Identity Fraud" You read about it in the paper every week. I've put a shredder by the paper re-cycling bin so I feel protected from anything like that happening to me.

What I have been conned by though is "Identity Confusion" I thought I was female. I thought I was a nurse. I thought I was looking for a job in that area to bring a bit of money into the house. I was soooo wrong.

I am trying to get my Nursing Registration here in Australia so I can start working as a Registered nurse. In the meantime I started working as a nursing assistant in a local hospital 3 months ago. This was to bring in some money to help out since Byron's job in the US went belly up. I work as a casual, this means I get a random number of hours of work in each fortnights roster. It is hard to budget as every week brings different shifts and I often get last minute phone calls to fill in the gaps when people ring in sick. I have been getting quite frustrated with how few hours I get given at the beginning of each two week roster(even though by the end of the two weeks I have usually notched up plenty of shifts) I got a phone call from the hospital last week asking if I wanted to be trained up as a Physio Assistant. Same hourly rate, just doubling my chances of being offered shifts in either the Physio gym or the ward. I said yes and last week was a Physio Assistant on Monday and Wednesday and a Nursing Assistant on Thursday and again this afternoon.

I only have one uniform which was from my Reflexology course in the UK and is different to the rest of the staff. It is a bit confusing for the patients who don't know whether to ask me for pills or a walk. Having got used to these two roles I then had another phone call from the hospital offering me another job. This time in theatre. Same hourly rate and regular shifts every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. How could I say no?

But now the confusion starts. What exactly is my new job? On Monday I become the new Theatre Wardsman. No, not wardsperson, wardsman! I will be joining the ranks of the blue shirted, moustached, tattooed wardsmen who push beds and trolleys from the wards to Theatre and Theatre to the wards. I will be lifting and carrying and generally doing all the jobs that the other porters do. I start tomorrow morning at 7am. I am a little nervous. Maybe I should change my name to something more manly, something that sounds strong and rugged? Perhaps a big tattoe on my forearm will make me fit in better.

I'm sure it will be fine. I shouldn't waste time worrying about it. I'm sure the Theatre sister was only joking when she looked me up and down and with a look of disbelief....

"You better be stronger than you look" .....


It's a beautiful Sunday afternoon. Here is the view from my front door.....

Please note the "Britz" campervan on the kerb.

Here is the view from my back door.....

Please note the extra male on the swing seat.

Yes, The Baynham B+B has "No Vacancies" tonight as we have Chris Johnson, one of Mr B's college friends stopping over on his Around-Australia-watching-the-Rugby-League-World-Cup holiday! Chris comes complete with his very healthy friend Rich who is in training for the Ironman competition in Perth in a few weeks time. Rich has decided to forfeit the afternoon vegging by the pool in favour of a 3 hour cycle? It takes all types I guess....

As I type Byron and Chris are waking out the front door to go get in some supplies for tonight. I am hoping Byron means extra bread rolls and sausages for the barbie but I think he might have meant liquid supplies from the bottle shop. I am working this evening and then start my new job in theatre at 7 in the morning so Mr B will be in charge of feeding the kids tonight and getting them into school the morning.

I hope he remembers that as he fills up the shopping basket with "essentials" !

Saturday, November 08, 2008


It's oh so quiet.....

No entries on the Baynham blog for over a week......

I've had a few people nag me about the lack of new posts....

I know, I know, I know. We have been doing things, I have been taking photos, I have loads of things I'd like to blog but there is only one thing holding me back....

Time, or lack of it to be precise.

I have been putting in loads of hours at work over the last couple of weeks. Any time spent in the house has been trying to keep on top of the boring stuff, washing, drying and ironing uniforms, shopping, cooking, packed lunches.

Does anyone know the legal age limit on making kids work for their pocket-money? I mean how hard can it be for a 5 year old who knows how the computer works to handle an on-line grocery shop ? Surely an 8 year old should be able to operate the washing machine? And do you really think that 10 is too young to organise and cook tea while a tired, overworked and underpaid Mum sits in front of the computer to write blogs for you to enjoy reading.....

I rest my case! So watch this space as I plan on sitting here with a cup of tea writing a few blogs up and back dating them over the last week...

...and before you panic, the washing machine is on, the fridge is full, dinner has been cleared away and the kids are tucked up fast asleep in bed. Don't go calling the authorities on me just yet!

Friday, November 07, 2008

School Assembly

Rhiannon was in the school's "Talent Quest" last week with her friend Natalie. They sang a song about nagging their Dad for a puppy. As the Talent Quest was running out of time each act was cut short to about 1 minute each. Apparently the kids were disappointed not to have sung the full song and the teacher told me that they were going to let Rhiannon, Natalie and Rhys do the whole thing again at this Fridays school assembly. I decided to go along and watch and brought my camera with me.

Before they did their song the principle gave out awards for good behaviour that week.

I was really excited when one of Rhiannon's friends Ellie got a Merit award.

Out came the camera and I took a photo to email her Mum.

Then Ellie's sister Maddie also got a Merit award.

Out came the camera again.

The next name called out was Sophie. Wonderful, funny Sophie. One of Rhiannon's very good friends.

A girl with great wisdom and judgement (did I mention that she chose me to be her sponsor last year for her Confirmation!)
Monica loves photos so out came the camera again!

Next was the Principles award. An award given out for exceptional achievement. The lead up to the announcement was long and wordy, and finally the name of the Award winner...


Wow! The excitement! Need I say that the camera came out again.

And finally, the moment I had been waiting for. Rhiannon, Natalie and Rhys mimed their hearts out and had everyone laughing along to their "Talent Quest" performance "Daddy can I have a puppy..?"

Worth waiting for!


Gareth has started playing tennis with Sian and Rhiannon on Friday after school. He inherited Sian's old racket that she has grown out of and has joined up with Tommy, Kayla and Owie in the junior group of newbie tennis Wimbledon wannabes!

I took the camera along this week to catch a few shots of our tennis pro in action!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Barack Obama

Isn't it exciting to be watching history unfold in front of you!

Politics normally bores me to tears. It was the only section in the Australian Citizenship exam that I got wrong answers. I just have no spark for it. However the recent presidential election in the US has been very interesting. It has been a real opportunity to see change and to teach the kids that anyone can achieve anything if they set their mind to it. Finally the colour of your skin or the chequered background of mixing with the wrong crowd is not enough to stop you from setting your goals high, living a good life, reaching for the stars and catching them.

The kids school has seen the opportunity to use Barack Obama and his story as an example of success through determination to the students. At assembly the principle asked the kids about the election, who won? Why was that special? What was the process that led to the election? What would happen now?

The older kids were very enthusiastic in their answers. They had arms stretched so high they nearly popped their shoulders joints.

The younger kids found it a little less interesting. Gareth in particular...

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Melbourne Cup 2008

Melbourne Cup. The race that stops a nation. The day when women all over Australia get dressed up and meet for lunch, champagne and a little flutter on the horses.

I wasn't due to work on Tuesday so arranged a last minute lunch at my house. Most of my friends here in Australia have started going back to the workplace over the last couple of years so I wasn't expecting many to be free.

Despite it being short notice a few of us had a great lunch and as always a great laugh, even setting the camera up on a tripod for some self portraits! (after fixing up the lippy in the mirror of course!)

Friends who were working said they would come over after work and so when the school bus pulled up about half the kids poured out the door and down the steps shouting and laughing and making a bee-line for our front door!

The noise and excitement of the next couple of hours cannot be done justice by a few photos on a blog. It was crazy, ear-splitting, fun, fun, fun!

The swimming pool was like soup!

...and a bounce on the trampoline at the end to warm up again!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Sian's Documentaries...

Sian got a digital camera for her birthday. She loves taking photos but even more fun is the ability to take little movie clips.

Here is one from this weekend.....

Spider season

Are you scared of spiders?

I never was until I moved here to Oz.

Now we share our house and garden with spiders that can kill.

My favourite household product is Mortein Black. One squirt and you're dead.

When did you say you were thinking of visiting...?!!