Sunday, August 26, 2007

The big week

This was a big week: a wonderful Wakakirri "My Place" performance by the junior campus kids on Tuesday night at the Canberra Theatre, the dreaded visit by the External Validation panel 22-24 August, Special Program week on the senior campus including Year 9 Roundtable panels on Wednesday and a P&C fundraising night on Thursday night.

Maxie & Rod participated in Roundtables again - for the sixth straight year in a row - they must be the most experienced panel members in Canberra. I was in such a hurry to get away from school on Friday afternoon I didn't even stay and enjoy the free drinks I shouted everyone for the hard work they had put in over the week. And did I mention there is a flu epidemic in Canberra too? Claire succumbed this week, missing out on her mention in the kids' speeches on Tuesday night at Wakakirri. We are hearing this weekend that there is even an equine flu epidemic in E. Australia. There is talk of the Melbourne Cup having to be delayed (OMG!).

Rob, Bobbie and I drove up to Coogee Friday night. Our stay got off to a scary start when Bobbie lost her footing on the high sandstone Carrington Rd gutter and fell back onto the roadway, before we were able to pull her back upright. We were all pretty shaken and she was sore for the rest of the weekend but bravely continued on with our plans for her enjoyment: a fair bit of shopping on Saturday and yum cha lunch at the Golden Unicorn (crowded, but great yum cha in down at heel Maroubra Junction).

Sunday dawned a perfect Spring Sydney day: a divine breakfast together at Barzura's Cafe on a sparkling, blue, warm, sunny morning before waving goodbye to Bobbie from Terminal 3 after her lovely visit. Rob and I gave the apartment a good clean ready for Ella's first visit next week and without any more excuses to delay our departure we headed back to Canberra a bit before 1.00pm.

Just time for quick visit to see Ella at home and show her the killer outfit we found at "Fragile", Bondi Junction: Diesel top and matching hat and her first soft leather baby shoes (silver and white). Ella was 3 months old this week, Angus had his second birthday and Jody's birthday was on Saturday - a big week!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Go Karting dad

Josh competed in his second race today in his Rotax - heavy, fully kitted out with driving suit and new helmet. It reminded me a lot of ice hockey days: the thrill of the speed and adrenalin, intensely serious focus-everyone so passionate and committed about what they are doing - and freezing bloody cold just like the old Phillip Skating Rink.

Joshy's cart spun out a bit coming around the home corner causing a chain to drop and some damage to his brake rotar.

We met Amelia for the first time in AGES. She is Ella's cousin, but looks just like her mummy Julie. She thought the cart action was just great.

Josh and work mate Matt quickly worked out how to do the necessary repairs so no. 77 (78 for today only) could get back on the track.

Just for a complete change after go kart watching we went to Maxie & Rod's for a wonderful lunch with the Fischers, Lebangs and Primroses. Maxie developed our usual French dining theme to unprecedented heights with her amazing beef daube and caramelized apple tartlets. In amongst all the wine, food, share market, travel tales & political talk we made plans for our next lobster meal at Rosedale and degustation at Tetsuya's in Sydney early in 2008.
As usual Maddie, Sophie and Thomas were adorable playmates for Ollie. Claire wants to keep them.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Four generations

Bobbie was keen to get the "four generations photo" from her visit this time - one of the biggest challenges of all for the amateur photographer. This afternoon was my last opportunity before she leaves next weekend. We had a slightly wary but satisfying yum cha lunch at Nobel Palace to celebrate Jody's birthday (next week). Wary because we booked in late (2.00pm) and had to keep our eyes and ears open the whole time to make sure we were served our various yums and chas before the whole session was wrapped up by 3.00pm.

By the time we got home for a more leisurely coffee and slice of pavlova and fruits in syrup Ella was ready for her big feed and a big sleep. After her sleep she was feeling a bit fragile and not ready to put up with too much fussing around. I thought I did well to get a couple of reasonable 3 and 4 generation shots - outside, late afternoon on a wintry grey Canberra day. I tried to get the big splashy red camellias in the picture to brighten things up a bit.

It was big day for me. I had the opportunity to meet my friend Jane Le Dieu for coffee in the morning. We spent two hours at Artespresso catching up with the news since we'd last met over a year ago. We realised Jane's been in Brisbane 12 years now and it is easily 20 years since we first got to know each other teaching Art together at Canberra High School.
I especially enjoyed hearing news of Tania Mc Murtry, now living with Allen and their 2 girls in their Georgian villa in Chelsea, London. Jane visited them about a year ago, soon after they had moved to London from Sydney.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Jungle fever happening

The Jungle fever party today was a wild event. Six hours of feverish play, presents and party food with 12 little people and all the adults. We counted at least 6 grandmothers among the invited guests, four of them attached to the Price, Primrose, Pettiford clan. Big O and little A handled themselves beautifully while being deluged with tonnes of new toys, noise and all the excitement of the cubby house launch. Jeremy, Josh, Rob & Donny did the bar-b-que thing in Jeremy's amazing new outdoor kitchen under "Winton's" deck. Claire and Jeremy staged the most beautiful party for their two gorgeous boys. Unforgettable!

Baby Ella's smiles are more and more dazzling every week. Here she turns it on for Great Grandma Pettiford.

Jeremy could rely on the support of "the boys" when the going got rough and the flames licked higher.

Angus was delighted to claim the cubby house verandah as his own. He found it a real chick magnet.

John & Erin stayed the distance, looking relaxed after their five days in Melbourne to celebrate Erin's birthday.

Ella looked gorgeous in the winter sunshine.

The "talkie talkie" was a big hit.

Just a few of the gorgeous girls experiencing "Jungle Fever".

Ella with her mummy and daddy.

One of the wilder moments.

Great grandmas

Ollie's jungle cake

Two boys, two birthdays, two amazing cakes made by their amazing mummy.

It's great having a big brother to blow out the candles.

In the end it is all about the cake.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Roast lamb and pav

We picked up Rob's mother from Sydney airport yesterday afternoon so she can enjoy a first time great grandma visit to baby Ella for a few weeks. Rob and I drove up to Coogee for the third weekend in a row - loving the break in our busy work week that this makes for us.

Another Sydney Saturday morning - this time a longer walk part way through the Waverly cemetery before it got too difficult negotiating the 70cm wide path while having to constantly stand aside for all the huffing, panting Eastern suburbs joggers (and their designer dogs).

Rob did the handyman thing again, painting our new back door while I washed windows and walls of many years of accumulated grime. The white painted slat blinds will be the next challenge.

Picking up Rob's mum made us realise how much more difficult everything is in Sydney: which terminal? which car park? where are arrivals? oh my god, the parking costs $20.00!

Lunch with baby Ella and J&J today in Canberra was special although Ella was feeling a bit "fragile" today and saved her dazzling smiles and killer, coy looks until she was just about to go home. I guess she knew all along she wasn't getting any of the roast lamb and pav. and thought she'd let us know how she felt about it! Jody said Ella had gained 250gr in the last 2 weeks and is now 64cm long!

It is big O's 3rd b'day today. We are all looking forward to the jungle fever party next week.