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1st time with two dependents

Some of you may know that my parents have reached the milestone of 25 years this week and so decided to take some time and get away for a couple of days. Being the brave, loving and loyal daughter that I am I said that I was happy to look after the youngest two for the three days.

It’s the first day and we’re going strong. After a 6.30 am start (a sleep in apparently) we began a jam packed day that involved a rid on a bus, seeing santa and a near disaster with the escalator.
Some of the highlighters were Zoe being my hairdresser and Alexander – when told to get his own brush, came back with a toothbrush which was quickly removed and a proper brush found for him to be used on my hair. The christmas music has been on repeat since this morning, at Alexander’s demand and Zoe continues to show Alexander everything that he must do, including being her horse, only using the textas that she allows him to use and that wearing socks whenever she does.

I am surviving, I have cooked the dinner and look forward to some free time (and the gym) when they head to bed. Lets hope tomorrow is as good a day.


Point of view

They say that a picture tells a thousand words. Perhaps so, however, a photo like this one also leaves out a thousand words. It was the final excursion of the bargain four tourist ticket with the final day of the 30 day period providing no opportunity to postpone the visit to Sydney’s Centrepoint Tower. The dynamic duo were sick and had given their parents one of the most challenging nights for some time…’let’s see if we can get mum and dad out of bed 50 times between midnight and 4am’ was clearly the game they had agreed upon before bed that evening. Bleary-eyed that morning there was no option to postpone the Tower visit and there was reluctance to cancel the visit altogether, so boldly and with stouthearted resolve (Psalm 138 had been the Psalm the night before) the decision was taken to seize the day. Bold and stout hearts were needed along with plenty of energy to push and coax two weary and fragile toddlers from the car parked outside the Botannical Gardens, up past the Art Gallery, across the Park past St James Church (the very same building in which the Reverend Samuel Marsden preached on the text “Arise, shine, for your light has come” some 200 years earlier on January 2012) and then through the newly furbished Westfield and up the lift to the top of Sydney Tower. But not before Zoe had locked herself in the toilets, thrown herself down on the floor half a dozen times and let out the most ear-piercing cries to ensure that the CBD community were well aware of her visit to town and, no doubt breathed a sigh of relief on news of her departure. Nonetheless, despite all the challenges eventually the tired, fragile toddlers were able to get around and appreciate the magnificent views on this glorious winter’s day. And as the photo does reveal they had fun discovering different points of view as they enjoyed the exhibits. Escaping outside, the excursion was capped off with some beer battered fish and chips in the Botannical Gardens next to the Levy fountain. But no time to relax in the sun…’I just want to get home’ was the refrain. And half an hour later, all were sound asleep at home in bed!

The first abode!

While the lout was preparing for the big match against the kids in cerise over the Gladesville Bridge, there was opportunity for a drive around the area where we spent the first couple of years post-wedding and pre-offspring. Surprise, surprise there was the old reception venue opposite the rugby field…looking very different in the light of day! And then on to the next suburb and there was Number 43 – looking a lot snappier and smarter than it was almost 25 years ago. Nearly 2 years were spent in the villa of Glades  – life included the Putney punt to get across to teach at Concord, being driven to Chatswood to work in the actuarial department at Aetna life insurance, watching the original Bourne Identity on the neighbour’s videoplayer, Christchurch our local fellowship community…and apart from the house burning down next door and the occasional table turning day, a pleasant home to start off married life. And how could we forget those two big cats, Alfie and Tum, who quickly realised that the option of living in 69 Billyard was a good move to make in 1988.

Forward to Victory!

Saturday 18 June 2011 is now a day etched into rugby history. This morning the fans of the lout and supporters of the mighty 14Es (a team which the pater also played for in another era at another school,which, by the way, has won this year’s Head of the River) drove across the harbour to play the boys from St Joseph’s Hunters Hill. A brisk but beautiful blue sky winter’s day saw the boys in cerise and blue get off to a strong start and, with an early try, it looked as if a familiar game pattern was developing – a runaway game to the boys on the hill. But the Scots boys gathered together, the captain and coach told them to focus and remember what they were here for. Presumably this advice was expressed along the motivational lines of the late David Brockhoff, (see below), for suddenly there was a marvel to behold. The team who had just performed like soggy arrowroot biscuits, was transformed into a steamtrain-rolling-juggernaut of forward momentum which was enough to scare the daylight underpants off any Joeys boy who sought to stand in the way. The lout was playing wing but, neither his position nor head high tackles stopped him joining the juggernaut and charging into the forward pack – he, along with every Scots man, stampeded forward in a furious rage with Joeys jumpers hanging on for grim life. There was so much cerise and blue flying around in gay abandon that from the sideline it was more akin to watching a  Jackson Pollock artwork being produced than a rugby game. This was scintillating stuff! This is what the supporters had come to see! The crowd became more and more vocal in support and, while Zoe sipped her solo drink and Fred ate his hamburger on the stand next to the schoolboy fathers’ BBQ, the 14Es team ploughed through the Joeys pack to score.  Even the referee, a young Joey’s fellow who did not appear to have much knowledge of the game or his reason for being there, had to abandon his hitherto partisan approach and join the rampant lion as it stormed down the field for try after try. Finally, the ref realised there was no more he could do and so he blew the final whistle to thunderous applause and huge smiles from the Scots team and barracking supporters. The score: 21-12 – mark that down in the record books! A perfect warm up for the afternoon’s big one: can the Scots First XV who are themselves one of the top-notched favourites for the GPS competition, emulate the feat of the 14Es? One thing is for certain, if they were watching the lout and his team today then they will already be all fired up for action! Scots to the Fore!

PS  Dave Brockhoff was renowned for sayings such as: ”You’ll run out, you’ll line up on the other side of halfway, and then you’re going to go through them like a madman in a glass factory with a crowbar”

On the passing of Brockhoff see:

Man of the Match!

It was the match that all Sydney had been waiting for…Scots v View. The lout had put his kilt aside after a riveting session of Friday afternoon drumming in preparation for Rotterdam 2014 (the centenary – more news to come), and was fired up for the Saturday morning rugby game. Sadly, domestic arrangements and changes made by the mater the night before resulted in your correspondent missing the all important game across the Harbour. But from the post match news and scorecard it is clear that there are 15 young chaps in blue and white who themselves would also rather have missed this game.

For the lout arrived on fire, steamed up and ready to show the kids at View how to play rugby. He’d been to his rugby camp and had personal training and rugby strategy given to him from the likes of Kurtley Beale and Matt Burke. ‘See my footy’, said the lout, ‘KB signed that’ – such comments and the sight of the lout and his ball sent tremors through the opposition team. And with the first touch of the ball it was evident to all that this would be rugby at its finest. He played at Centre postion,  and within a few minutes of the kick off, the KB trained up and coming superstar had broken through the backline and scored his first try. From that moment it was magic to watch: Weaving, darting, passing, making breaks, length of the field runs, dummy passes, try saving tackles – it was all there. In the scintillating performance of the year, the lout was an inspiration to his team who combined to put in a full 15 man team effort which had the bagpipes blowing so loudly they could be heard over here in the East. And it was not just one try – the lout scored another two blinders before the full time whistle was blown. Final Score: 36-15 – a demolition job. Who was Man of the Match? the players asked the coach. There was no question about it: The Lout, answered the Coach! Well done, young champ! Looking forward to the rest of the season!

The Half

Hey Fred, this week our old man (that’s Dad) is finally going to run the Half Marathon which he has been training for. Yes training – you know, all those times we would go off with mum to play at the park and eventually Dad would roll up about half an hour later in shorts and T-shirt all sweaty and thirsty, and then he’d ask for a kiss and hug and I tell you there was no way I was going to hug him then!  Well, that’s called training runs and it has all been for the run on this Sunday in the SMH Half Marathon. Apparently Dad ran it 3 years ago but for some of us that is a lifetime away.  Seb has some story about running then too and even beating Dad, but I find that hard to believe, Fred. I mean look at Seb – he runs up the stairs these days and he’s puffing – how could he have ever run a Half?!

Anyway this time Dad is also doing some fundraising for a group called Bears of Hope. This group offers support & guidance for parents who experience the loss of their baby during pregnancy, birth or infancy. That sounds like a really worthwhile cause. This fundraising is just something that people do when they go on this Half Marathon – people raise funds to support lots of different groups. There is even a list of the top fund raisers – one guy Mark has raised almost $6,930. You could buy about 20 million ice blocks with all that money, Fred! How much has Dad raised? Well, you can check out his ‘hero page’ here, but I wouldn’t get too excited. Last time I checked he was on $0.00 so I hope those bears aren’t pinning too much hope on our Dad’s efforts. But he did say that some people have donated directly rather than go through the online page.

The race starts at 6.45am and you can see where Dad will be while we are having breakfast if you look at the course map. Dad’s main concern is to finish the Half by 9am so that he can get back for church on time – it’s Holy Communion and he’s on deck. I tell you what though Fred, I reckon he better have a good shower before he goes into church on Sunday! Let’s cheer him on Fred: Run, Dad, Run!

Mum – you’re great!

Yesterday was a very special day because it was mother’s day. Our cousin, Piper, came around with her mum and after church we had a big lunch together with Oma (who is also a mum) and all the family. Uncle Miles got me all worked up by sharing about some big anxiety which I wasn’t to get anxious about. He was going on the hugest adventure travelling on a caraship to Antarctica – that is somewhere near Perth, Fred. Perth is quite close to Brazil, Fred, I’ll show you all these things on a map later. It was going to be very cold for Uncle Miles so we gave him a sleeping bag to keep warm in. Sometimes when Uncle Miles comes over he is very quiet. He wasn’t so quiet yesterday…I think that he was very excited about the big trip. He kept taking pictures of me singing about wobblies. We all sang happy birthday to him in church…hip, hip hooray! In order to settle down our anxiety mum gave us some special dessert which was called Vienetta icecream and comes all the way from the Austro-Habsburg empire according to Aunty Gia who helpfully showed Oliver where Vienna was made. We learn so much when our aunties and uncles visit us. I helped my cousin learn how to eat Vienetta – watch me, Piper, if you eat like me then all your anxieties will disappear in a mouthful!

You know, Fred, if you really want to understand about how special mums are then you need to listen to this song! I love my mum – she’s great. And I liked eating the biscuits which I made for her for mum’s special day!