Legends from our own lunchtimes

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Down by the river

As if to prove my comment of yesterday, I finished all eight beehives today.

Finished, painted sitting on the garage floor, waiting for me to return tomorrow and tie each with a bow before putting them away until needed. Finished, ready to put tools away and clean up and sort out the scraps.

With just a bit of glue and a clamp or two, I have enough timber left to build another.

I'm not finished after all, don't cross beehive off the list just yet then.

It's time to start a painting I think, and forget about the list, or perhaps I'll just sit in the boat shed for a while, with a coffee, watching the river go by. Sitting close to the river reminds me of being somewhere else this year, I can't quite put my finger on it, but it feels like home.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Bottomless Cup

Last week I made a list, and looked at the mess and got started on the process of making the list shorter and the mess tidier.

I've tried for seven days, tried really hard to make progress on both, but the list and the mess I have to say seem to be self perpetuating.

Oh sure, I've almost finished the hives, and almost finished the first stretcher for the first canvas, and almost started on the new pipes for the busker organ, and I've fixed a couple of sanders and made stands for the outfeed rollers too, but even though I sweep every ten minutes or so and try to put tools away as soon as I've finished with them, I'm still up to my neck in offcuts and sawdust and tools, and a list that no longer fits on a single sheet of paper.

If a genie was going to give me a packet of something perpetuating, why did it have to contain sawdust and list of things to do?

Why couldn't it have been TimTams and perhaps a cup of half decent coffee?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Old John Again

When Maurice phoned the other evening to remind me that there was a meeting on Sunday, I had to ponder how it is that someone in his mid eighties can take time out from building banjos, teaching ukulele (and building one for his wife), while working at the community radio station and doing a thousand other things, to keep tabs on someone who is thirty years his junior and clearly incapable of planning ahead much beyond breakfast time each day.

I try not to miss the Musical Instrument Makers meetings, not because I have an great aspirations in that regard, but because of the inspiration that group provides. Most of the attendees are a generation ahead of me, and I never tire of hearing how one gets from Redcliffe to Russell Island via public transport and electric wheelchair, or the best way of fairing an aircraft propellor, or being showed how to stop the keys for a Nyckelharpa jamming.

Today though, I had to confess to John.

I told him I'd painted his portrait, and that he was hanging in a bank in France, that Sebastian, the "owner" of the office in which it hung was fascinated by the way the jazz filled the room whenever he walked past. I told him that Sebastian saw in the painting an old Jazz player lost in the music, and how the hair on my neck stood on end when he told me, how the hair on his neck stood on end when I showed him John's website, the picture of him at twenty and again at eighty playing one of his guitars, and then I waited.

He looked at the photo, then at me, then at the photo again. I apologised that we couldn't get him up to our place to see the real thing before it went to France, we both would dearly have loved that.

He chuckled and asked me for a copy of it, then showed me the dies he'd been making to fabricate the wing of his latest aircraft, and I wondered if I'll stop making guitars while I build an aeroplane when I'm eighty-two.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Christmas is coming

It's less than a month till Santa comes and one of us, (the one who thinks about these things, plans them and expends all the effort along the way), thought we really should think about what we might like to do "for Christmas".

Having chosen not to gate crash the parties of our children, who will be spending time with their respective "Dark Sides", we somehow set out on a quest with Mat and Michel, formerly our pet Canadians to create a memorable celebration of their first Christmas as Australians. With that in mind we (somewhat optimistically I thought) set off into the hinterland to find some
a) reasonably priced,
b) available, accommodation.

Having failed entirely to do that, we decided that staying at home would be a wonderful experience, wandered round Maleny for a time, looked at the flowers, had a cup of coffee, bought some sheep's cheese and wondered why in the month we've been back we haven't been for a drive in the country before today.


Friday, November 26, 2010

On Being British

It's my being a British Citizen that continues to fascinate us.

Why should it affect us so, we ask ourselves in turn, each feigning casual disinterest but we catch each other sneaking a look at the passport as it lies on the table as though lying in state. It is yet to find the drawer in the cabinet alongside its cousins as if we are wary of its power.

For thirty years or so we've discussed my obtaining a British Passport as some sort of novelty solution to a problem that hadn't arisen. For a decade or more the prospect of working in the EU had intrigued us, but we had more intrigue than we could handle on our own soil without adding further to our complications.

We'd always viewed it as some sort of discount voucher accessible through quirk of birth, like a free rail pass or perhaps a seniors card. It came therefore as something of a shock to realise that the little maroon book itself does not bestow any new status, but provides physical evidence of my Citizenship of another country.

Citizenship of another country! I have, it seems unknowingly carried this burden invisibly since birth as indeed have my siblings, and hence the fascination and analysis.

In a strangely and perhaps over-dramatic way, it is as a marker of a part of who I am, a hard copy of part of my genetic makeup, and while these few paragraphs may incorrectly give the impression that we are perhaps wasting too much time thinking about it all, it's also a rather nifty excuse to drag out a photograph of the old country.

It leaves us incredulous when we realise that exactly one month ago we were standing on a beach in Wales, yet so much has happened since we wonder if we were really there at all.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Ashes

When I was eight, my father took me to the Gabba for the first time.

Then, it was a sort of park affair with bench seats where there were seats it and a railway line that ran through the five ways and the workers from the nearby industry would gather by the scoreboard gate after work to get a glimpse of the action. The fence was of white palings and the grass was a stupendous green colour the likes of which I'd never seen before.

The sounds though, are the things that really stand out in the memory.

The sound of bat on ball, of willow striking leather, and the occasional call from the crowd to "have a go" or perhaps something witty that was beyond the understanding of an eight year old, but which left a muffled titter rippling through the crowd like the Mexican Wave would do many years later, and the crisp, gentle applause after a ball had been well bowled or a ball returned over the bails from near the boundary.

There was a particular kind of food too, a biscuit-cake affair that Mum made, a sensational thing made with "bought" biscuits layered in a tin filled with a chocolate and copha mix that cooled to result in something ever so much better than the modern Tim Tam. It may be that it was only be once or twice that we carried that particular delicacy with us, but to me, that recipe is synonymous with the Gabba.

It occurred to me as I began to write this, that yesterday I clocked up my half-century of going to the cricket, a feat which would these days attract a short standing applause were it a batting score, but sadly my lack of aptitude for the game put that particular experience well beyond my reach.

Much has changed of course. There are seats, and tickets and security people, and grandstands lining the entire ground, and the pitch hasn't been visible from Vulture Street for decades, but the sounds remain untouched.

The sounds of the first few minutes of the first test are always to script.

A subdued clap as the opposition team takes to the field, a roar when ours does, chatter as the bowler marks his stride, a hush but not silence as he walks back to his mark.

The crowd wants to be quiet but it can't contain it's excitement.

The bowler runs in as the not quite silence builds to even less. 

There is a crack, the ball has been struck, the game has begun.

The crowd gently erupts, pacing itself for the day ahead.

Summer is here.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We've never been the sort of people who plan too far ahead for anything, so it's quite out of character to find ourselves with tickets booked already for next year's commute to the boat. Instead of being some nefarious date in the future which is infinitely flexible as is our usual practice, it's cast in stone.

After a lifetime in the construction industry, where everything revolves around only two deadlines, Christmas and Easter, we now have the third of April to contend with, and arbitrary date to be sure, but the one, none the less on which we are now committed to fly.

Nothing else in our lives has changed, we have the same things to do, the same places to go, the same people to see, but now we must go do and see by the third of April, and I woke at one this morning wondering how we could fit it all in.

Perhaps I shall start by milling the new timber for the hives, and see how everything else falls into place.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The List

The realisation that one day we will have to move prompted an audit of unfinished projects round the workshop this morning. Actually it may just be the realisation that the time is nigh when one may have to get stuck in and actually finish a few things that prompted it, but undaunted by that prospect and with pencil over my ear I began a quick inventory of the bench.  That, I thought, should take my mind off the important things, like having a car that needs to be sold.

There, the trio of footstool parts sits patiently at one end, one of them Sue's Christmas present from last year, the other two first birthday presents for the new babies, so I have some time up my sleeve. There's Mr Four's pull along duck to be repaired too, since it met an untimely demise when he was Mr Two, he's probably not so into ducks just now so that can wait.

The busker organ pipes need something, perhaps completely rebuilding, and then the rest of the workings need to be built for it, and I'm not allowed to even mention the canoe, nor it's half finished paddles stored neatly in the ceiling. The rowboat parts store neatly enough flat against the wall.

Somewhere there are some pictures awaiting framing, and now a new one thanks to Gerry's wonderful generosity a week or two ago.

There's the doll's high chair that needs repair, built by my father for his grand daughter who naturally now would like it fixed for my grand daughter, and the pond-sailer which just needs a mast.

It's not as though I have a particularly minute attention span, but it is not difficult to be distracted in my cave, and so it was that I decided a nice drive in the country to my favourite sawmill to find some timber for next year's hives would fill in the morning nicely.

Sufficiently distracted on my return, I added a pile of timber to be milled to my list, then discovered that the planer blades needed what could only be described as "attention" before that could begin. A few hours of chat, a coffee and a milo bar later, I left Mat's shed with sharp blades and a machine to reassemble in the morning.

Then I remembered I have some canvas round here somewhere and it might be time to build a stretcher or two.

I don't really need any hives for a month or two after all.

Monday, November 22, 2010

We live in strange times

It came in the mail today.

Red it is, with just two words inside which change the way some of the world will see me: "British Citizen".

I didn't think it would affect me at all, but it has. For instance I have no idea what to expect next weekend at the Gabba when my country plays, well my other country actually in the first test.

Will I be disappointed if "we" lose? I suppose "we" will have the Ashes in any event, so my new found schizophrenia may well leave me happy-sad no matter what the outcome.

Now that I am a Pom, I suspect I shall have to address the class issue. Surely I wasn't meant to be "Working" Class was I? Heaven forbid, I'd have to join a union and drink in pubs and eat fried food and start watching television.

I think I'm more suited to being a Gentleman actually. For a proper Gentleman, I am led to believe, work is a vulgar concept, as is the thought of handling all things to do with money.

Yes, that will do, another decision finalised!

Now I just need to find myself a chap to take care of all those nasty things, and perhaps to iron my newspaper paper before I have him read it to me.

Carry on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010



We are home. At least we are at the place where we keep our stuff is until we decide where our next home will be, but for now let's not split straws.

It may be just a pit stop, but for now we are at last stationary and the motors are turned off.

We have stopped. No babies on the way, no exhibitions planned (yet), no house resumptions to battle, just a house to find and we'll do that later.

For well over a year we have been on a roller coaster of emotion and travel, and now we can stop for just a bit and take stock of exactly where we are and what we must do before we start it all again. We have time to think, but not the inclination, we almost feel as though we need a holiday, but from what?

So here we'll stop to feel the midges, until we get the urge to move once more.


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Flying Solo

Tonight is her big night, their big night, and our big night.

Tonight Lily flies solo, or to be more accurate, her mum does. The Office Christmas Party has come after only six months you see, not enough time to adjust to life without each other for more than sleeping hours which even now rarely come more than four hours at a time for either of them.

We've done all this before, once or twice or more come to think of it, but they haven't.

She had a big feed and a bath before they left, and a long walk in the evening left her dead to the world.

Would her mum forgive us if we phoned to ask how to turn on the TV?

Friday, November 19, 2010


I was mucking around photographing the boys and their dog today, standing above them as though I were Annie Leibovitz and they were John and Yoko, and coincidentally just a few minutes later read of an exhibition of her work opening in Sydney, which just may be worth the admission price if not the cost of travel.

I thought it might be worth a visit to see if I can figure out how she:

a) managed to keep the chair leg out of shot


b) was able to rack up a mere $24million in almost unsecured debt before someone realised she may not be able to pay it back and grabbed what they could.

Both of these things take her a level approaching immortality in my eyes.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Note to Mem Fox

Dear Mem,

We read "Where is the Green Sheep?" today, Lily and I, and we quite liked most of it. Actually we liked it enough for her to bob up and down and want to eat the pages.

I know, because I've read your papers, that you think an awful lot about political correctness, that you think a lot about racial and gender stereotyping, that you are truly trying to make the world a better place and I am sure that you must really get tired of people drawing your attention to all sorts of innuendo both intended and accidental in your work, and using very long sentences when they do, but why oh why do you call thin sheep "thin" while the considerably less thin sheep is so insanely politically correctly labelled "wide"?

The opposite of wide is narrow, not thin, and even at five months of age, Lily seems quite confused by your juxtaposition of these not-quite antonyms. Those among us who are narrow of frame are equally capable of taking offence at the use of such stereotypical adjectives as those who are wider. We are, after all a minority.

Why, may we ask, are wide objects given such deep and thoughtful consideration when less wide are not?

I have a wide chance of you ever seeing this, but I have written it anyway in the hope that some time in the future you may consider the incorrectness of political correctness.

Perhaps you won't, but I shall not be deterred. It's not over as they say, until the wide lady sings, or perhaps until we find yoghurt on our supermarket shelves labelled "95% wide free".

(Note:  Despite my harsh critique, it took two years for Mem to craft those 190 words, and grateful for her skills though I am, I remain bemused by her reluctance to use the "F" word.  Her story of the story may be found here.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sand Pits

Today as I was shovelling and chipping away digging the drain down the side of Mr Four's shed, I couldn't help but wonder where in our makeup the desire to dig comes from. When we are small there seems to be some sort of instinct to dig in anything that is softer than our finger tips.

After yesterday's sand pit adventure with our boys, it would be remiss of me not to record that I am something of a sandpit guru, having spent hours honing my craft in the sand pit under my grandparent's tank stand when I was Mr Four.  Even though the structure was removed midway through last century my memories of that wondrous space are still as fresh as when they were planted.

There was little head room for me even then, and a crawl-way through the lattice gate through the papyrus, mint and fish fern to what was really a very secret if perpetually damp spot.

The smell of cat poo would mingle with the mint as I mined the sand using a couple of prosthetic hands my grandfather had left there for the purpose.

One of us has suggested that that very memory may explain a lot.  Perhaps I should leave it there.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Food for Thought

It's day three with the kids and for reasons completely unrelated to the little ones, a sort of general restlessness is apparently starting to become apparent on my countenance.  I need to chop or sand or dig or paint something.  

The girls are happily doing their thing, shopping and cooking and gooing and gaaing non stop during daylight hours and beyond.  Mr Four and I can only take so much of that, so we disappeared to the sandpit for the afternoon to save the world from pirates and sharks until we deemed it bathtime and therefore safe to return indoors.

Bathtime means it's not long before we get to go out to catch up with friends, to share their view as well as their company, and to wonder briefly whether living once more in the city is really an option for us.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Here we are once again not at home.   The bites on the ankles aren't from the midges for once but from the glorious plethora of rug rats we are surrounded by.  There does't seem to be a minute in the day when someone doesn't need a hold, a feed, a bath or a noisy milk with banana in it.

The colds are slowly clearing up though, so it won't be long before the boys are relegated to their rightful spots once again.


Sunday, November 14, 2010


Just how many days, I wonder,  can I fluff around without exactly having to say: well that was another day in which we did nothing but clean.  We've only been there a week, just how dirty can a house get for crying out loud.

Today is definitely the last of the annual cleaning days.  The oven's clean, or as clean as it's going to get, the workshop floor is all but shiny, the towel rail in the ensuite doesn't wiggle any more  and we are back in the big smoke tickling Mr Four and passing the little one's round.

Actually we're not passing them round at all, I am having all the turns, because MY cold has gone completely.  My nose isn't runny nor my eyes watering, so I get them all for my own selfish grandfatherly purposes.   

Now I'm looking for something that I can slip to her to prolong the common cold.

This all seems a long way away from the life we were leading just a few weeks ago, but I can always pop out into the yard for a bit of canal boat respite.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

When ones cold gets to the post-nasal drip stage, one has nought to look forward to but the all night coughing sessions sitting on the couch. I haven't done that since the night after the double hernia operation, so this time it seemed relatively pleasant if somewhat tiring.

But even while trying to make light of sleeplessness it is in truth not at all as pleasant as the continuous round of catching up with friends that's kept us distracted from doing anything less meaningful.

There's a joke about Alzheimer's disease which suggests that one of the positive things about suffering from that particular infliction is that one gets to meet new people every day and that's a bit the way we feel. They are not exactly new people in our case of course, just friends we haven't seen for half a year, and while we actually haven't even forgotten each other, with each reunion it feels as though time has stood still since our last rendezvous.

It's a bit like the joy that comes as each new Lotus flower emerges really, we never tired of that either.


Friday, November 12, 2010

There is something about being back which I find quite disconcerting even after two weeks. I'm not quite oriented correctly I suspect and I can't quite work out why. Admittedly we've been beaten up a bit by the blunt end of the baby's colds and that hasn't helped.

We are back in the lucky country, the one that for four months we've been told is the one that missed the Global Financial Crisis, the land of opportunity. Why is it then that everything we read and hear is in the negative? Doom and gloom pervades the place it would seem.

We'll all be rooned apparently. Except that I've read the same data the reporters and politicians are reading and I can't for the life of me see the cliff that we are apparently heading for at a thousand miles per hour.

Perhaps all is not as it first appears in the lilypond, or perhaps I'm just not over the cold MrFour passed to me on the way through.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

The end of the rainbow

After four days of chugging with the pressure cleaner, stopping to let it rest, or to dismantle jammed whirly bits, I am none the wiser as to why it works perfectly for just an hour or two after I've dismantled it before finding an excuse to jam something within just one more time.

Despite now being intimately familiar with its innards, I am yet to discover a logical reason for its intermittent malaise, but even with all the stutters along the way we are finished. Every horizontal surface outside has been cleaned to within an inch of its life.

Decks, driveways and the tops of fence posts are now officially devoid of fungus and may feel free to start growing it again. We are ready to hit the road!

Amazingly it's almost two weeks since we departed London. We are not quite settled into home although the list of things to do has diminished remarkably, the cars are serviced, bike tyres pumped up, workshop ready for the next project.

We are almost ready to start new projects once again. After living in a fine mist of water and splatter for a few days it seemed entirely appropriate to end the afternoon sitting on the steps with jobs done beneath a perfect rainbow enveloping our house.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Farewell old friends!

Farewell old friends!

I stood in the driveway and waved as the PDRacers that have introduced us to so many new friends over the past few years, departed for their new home in Toowoomba, accompanied by enough sailboard bits to sink a small trailer. If it weren't for the fact that the boat shed is nowhere near empty yet, and the reassurance that they are heading for a new home where they'll be used and enjoyed, I may have even been a little sad.

Their exodus marks the end of an era really, or at least the beginning of the end.

The reality of our situation, no matter how much we try to prolong the agony, is that we are in the process of swapping the luxury of life beside the water, the sailing days and picnics at home, for one of living on it, and there seems little point in cluttering our lives with an armada of small ships when for half the year one large one will do an admirable job.

Perhaps if I slipped one or two of the remainder into the removal truck when that day inevitably arrives, no one will notice.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Our gardens are self-tending by design. One or two weekends a year we put in a bit of effort to weed and trim, and then sit back and let nature take its course.

This process has evolved into an annual event at the beginning of summer, which neatly coincides with our return after our now regular lengthy absences.

We've almost finished for the year now. A few more hours spread over the rest of the week and we'll be ship shape till next year (or for whichever part thereof we remain at the Home of the Biting Midge), with gardens tidied, pathways cleaned and lawns fed, but there's something missing.

For the past decade the lawn seemed to take care of itself as Don would sneak over whenever he felt it needed a trim. He kept the lawns in half the street tidy whenever they were in need, without prompting, as a sort of extension of his own front yard. Whenever his mowing run got too big for him, he'd sell it off, keeping the houses in our street for himself. Every now and then we'd slip him a few dollars and ask him to let us know when he needed more.

We were his special project.

Now his house sits empty, owned by a Government which has no need for it, and he has moved too far away to return with his mower and trailer. The street is the worse for his absence.  Of necessity brand new mowers are appearing on footpaths well overdue.

We borrowed one of them, just this once to make things respectable, and it did, without fuss, but it just isn't the same.

Monday, November 08, 2010

The Two Car Family

Thankfully, the sun had risen an hour before I did this morning and as I sat on the step, coffee in hand watching nothing in particular, it felt like Sunday all over again.

Another day off seemed in order, but it wasn't Sunday and there were places to go, people to see, things to do so the day off could wait.

One car went off to the doctor, the other, still waiting for a new owner, decided we'd enjoy a bit more expenditure on its account as a farewell gift, and I wondered if Mr Perkins has been somehow swapping notes with our Blue Bavarian friend about testing our patience . It just sat all morning like a hungry seagull chick with it's boot open, waiting for the RACQ man to come and feed it a new battery, while we scratched "places to go" and "people to see" off our list of things to do today.

We've been umming and arring about the reality of life with one car for some time. "What happens", we rhetorically ask ourselves, "when we need to get the car serviced and we don't have another to fall back on." Well it's quite a bit like having two cars it seems.

On Thursday, it too will go to the doctor.

Tomorrow we'll try the "people and places" thing one more time, but at least we managed to get the gardening well advanced, and the computer updated while confined to barracks.


Sunday, November 07, 2010

Our body clocks are starting to reset themselves at last, which is nice as one of us is getting some well deserved proper sleep at last after the events of the past week or so. Sadly my clock now thinks it's daylight saving time, in Fiji.

As much as I like watching the sun rise each morning, when that happens at 4:30 as it does at the moment, it all gets a bit tedious. It was quite strange this morning, I woke, took a photo or two in the pre-dawn monochrome, told myself it was ridiculous being up at that time of day, and promptly went back to bed. I slept for almost an hour I thought, but soon became conscious of myself thinking about things in my sleep. I thought I was dreaming until eventually I realised my eyes were open, at which point all hope was lost.

We made a decision that we didn't want our body calendars to reset themselves as well. We promised ourselves that we'd set Sundays aside as we once did, and as we have done for the past four months as a day that is different to all the others in the week. Take time to smell the roses, or in our case the frangipani or the jasmine or the magnolia perhaps.

No sooner had we promised ourselves that we'd start that next week, but for now we had things to do, than the phone rang.

Thanks to the miracle of friendship, today was a ripper day complete with extraordinarily long lunch, barely completed in time to invite ourselves elsewhere for tea and not a thing to do in sight.

Jobs, like tomorrow, can wait.


Saturday, November 06, 2010

The Clean

Now begins the big clean. We concluded a few years ago that we were quite fortunate to have a time set aside each year for all those "little" cleaning tasks that are so easily overlooked if one lives with them on a daily basis. After a long absence the dirt and mould in the driveway concrete and the decks is just as obvious as the weeds in the garden. It's an easy decision to spend the first week back attending to all the annual chores. A week out of each year to do the gardening and household maintenance doesn't seem like too much of a burden after all.

At least this year we didn't have any dust storms in our absence, just (it seems), relentless rain, so we can stall cleaning the outside of the house until the rest of the work is done.

The car battery was flat so a bit of conditioning was in order, and of course the pressure cleaner didn't work, so the first "proper" job was to dismantle it and find out why. This naturally means grease and tools and things in pressure pack cans and noise from the compressor.

I wandered into the kitchen to make a cup of coffee.

"You smell like workshop" she said.

Welcome home.

(thanks to Carola for the inspiration for the photo)

Friday, November 05, 2010

Stumbling around at home after a four month absence is quite strange. It's like having a cup of tea with a friend one hasn't seen in decades.

We spend a bit of time circling around each other and then it's as if it was yesterday that we last met.

There are some things that are different but of course much that is very familiar. There are some paintings missing from the walls for starters, and the grass needs attention now that Don has left town.

And so it is that we have spent some time circling our house, remembering where things go, and which switches work with which light, and that there is an ensuite bathroom for our convenience in the middle of the night. We've been away before, but never experienced such a complete subconscious separation and it's rather odd.

We can only think that we have been so completely immersed in the past four months that our brains have decided that we had no need to remember things like, where the cutlery is kept. It will be interesting to see if we can remember that we need to find a new place to live soon.

Perhaps all the cleaning and garden tidying that awaits will jog our memories.

Thursday, November 04, 2010


And then there was nothing. It's hard to explain really, it's like an emptiness but it's not at all like empty. We are full to the brim, completely satisfied as though we've just had a monster meal of emotion and now just need to sleep away the afternoon to help digest it all.

Before then though, there was cleaning. Two houses worth, and cooking for a week, and perhaps some washing as well. Then Elliott came home and took his place in the bassinet that has held us all. Mr Four squealed with delight and did a backflip on the lounge (normally a corporal offence) and we counted the heads and four seems like heaps more than just three in a family. We vacated our room at Miss Lily's and she smiled as she always does whether we are coming or going. Even though she is still a bit out of sorts after her injection she still flapped both her arms in what we translated as a genuine wave goodbye, but which in reality was simply flapping her arms, but don't tell us, we are sure she's much cleverer than that.

Then we drove through the showers and the traffic, through the evening and through our weariness.

We are home.

We have suddenly stopped travelling, we have a roof, a floor, OUR bed and all we can hear are the occasional sighs as we take it in turns to wonder what just happened.


Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Just a bit tired.

It's all starting to catch up, this business: travel round the world, don't sleep, have a baby, don't sleep, have a great time with the other little ones, don't sleep.

Thanks entirely to Elliott's immaculate timing, it's fair to say that we are starting to feel just a teensy bit frayed round the edges.   Happy, proud, overjoyed even, but frayed none the less.

Having not actually had an uninterrupted night's sleep of a duration within cooee of even two thirds of the customary eight hours for almost a week, we are starting to look for dark quiet corners in which to hide.  Unfortunately the dark quiet corners are occupied by children suffering variously from today's round of inoculations or a shocking head cold, rendering them somewhat less than quiet and therefore far more appropriate for the company of their parents than their grandparents.

What we wouldn't give for a thumb to hold for an hour or so about now.

On the other hand I wouldn't swap my thumb for the world.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

We have a winner!

I think I am the only person in Australia who doesn't care for any of the Melbourne Cup business, and today I care even less, except to say out of deference to those that do, that Elliott was a bit slow out of the blocks but a fast finisher.

He's here at last and we all think he's a winner, specially his big brother.


Monday, November 01, 2010

A small diversion.

Elliott, it seems took this team business fairly seriously after all. The boys may have had an hour or two more sleep than the girls by the time there was a bump in the middle of the night, which turned out to be Jenna rattling around trying to contain a rush of "water", a certain indication that he was on his way to join us more than a week early.

This wasn't really in the plan, so it seems that even at home there's a certain pointlessness in making plans ever again. On reflection, Elliott himself didn't figure in our plan for the year at its outset.

After making all the necessary phone calls; Steve, the hospital, Steve, Matt, Steve, the hospital, Steve, we all leapt into action. Well the girls leapt into action like a well oiled machine while I watched in somewhere between amazement and befuddlement.

Mr Four moaned and rolled over clasping his pillow round his head in a vain effort to stay asleep despite the din and light. The monster truck, which I had loaded to the gills just a few hours earlier, and unloaded a bit later, miraculously refilled itself with stuff. Sleeping children were cuddled, kissed goodbye and snugged inside.

We stood in the night chill, watching them giggling as they headed off into the night, and as we walked back inside we talked about the best adventure we've ever had, and how it never ends; parenthood.

By sunrise we would be back in travel mode. Only once in the past ten days have we slept in the same bed for two consecutive days. Tonight we are back with the babies, at once anxious, excited, sleepless and exhausted.

Waiting for news.
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