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Grandpa and me

Mum was out at a conference today so Grandpa came and looked after us. Zoe and I had a wonderful time with Grandpa. We played chasings and horsies in the wheelbarrow which was lots of fun. Grandpa kept wanting to sit down in the chair but we knew that he really wanted us to keep playing chasings and that he really was enjoying our Guinness World Records Attempt at how many times a Grandpa could take his grandchildren on a spin around the garden in a wheelbarrow. We think that we may have broken the record but Dad says we have to contact Mr Guinness first.

At lunch time Dad joined Grandpa and we came back here to one of our favourite parks at Watson’s Bay. We had fish and chips and more fun playing. Dad gave me and Zoe a go on the see-saw swing again and we went faster and faster around…and then I decided to see what it was like with no hands. All of a sudden I was flying, and then all of a sudden I wasn’t…I was lying on my back crying. I didn’t like that but Dad gave me a cuddle (and said something like he was glad that mum wasn’t around to see that) and then he gave me another swing on it but a bit slower. He said something about getting back on your horse again, to Grandpa, but I couldn’t see any horses around. Dad can be a bit mixed up sometimes. After all that we went home and Zoe and I had a very long sleep. I hope that Grandpa wasn’t too bored in the afternoon when we weren’t there to entertain him. He’d gone home by the time I woke up! We love having our Grandpa come over!!

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The boudoir planner’s makeover

An 8lanefreeway circular relating to the year 2003 was composed some 7 years ago but never circulated. Some of it had a literary flavour as can be seen from the opening lines of this excerpt about the eldest child who was enamoured with the novels of Jane Austen.

Emily L, handsome, clever and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly thirteen years in the world with very little to distress or vex her.

Little to vex her, that is, until the boudoir and bathroom water collision minus the self-raising flour.

It has been stated that ‘Coming down to first causes, the only reason why collisions of any kind occur is because two bodies defy Nature’s law that a given spot on a given plane shall at a given moment of time be occupied by only one body.’

At 8.26pm of the 1st day of October Year of our Lord, 2003, Emily L headed down the hallway of the Rectory in order to clean her teeth in the bathroom. One minute later, at precisely 8.27pm, her brother accompanied by friend, Richard B, proceeded toward the very same bathroom carrying jug of water and bucket of self-raising flour. This matter of timing was not what one might classify as mere co-incidence. Earlier on the same day in question, these two boys had woken to discover that their bedroom had been transformed into a sea of pink and crimson camellia flowers, along with girls clothing and make-up – a beautiful boudoir described as ‘heaven’ by Emily L.

This incident provided the backdrop and motivation for the boys procession that Spring evening. But the shrieks and screams which followed the collision of brother and sister in the aforementioned bathroom at 8.27pm were far from heaven so piercing and spine-tingling was the cry: ‘you’ve wet my new jeans!’ Young Richard B was not only struck dumb by the shuddering spasms of grief which issued forth from the now much vexed and wet 13 year old, but also struck still as stone and so failed to distribute his bucket of flour according to script. This proved fortunate for him as he was thereby assured of more time on earth before his own self-raising heavenward. As Emily L stood before them it was a scene reminiscent of Golding’s Lord of the Flies: ‘with filthy body, matted hair, and unwiped nose, she wept for the end of innocence, the darkness of man’s heart, and the fall through the air of the true, wise friend called Piggy’.

A few weeks later her father wept for the end of innocence when he watched a performance of Emily L’s high school drama group with lines like: ‘look at that sheila over there – I’ve seen better legs on a centipede’.

Remember it rhymes with Pam!

Successful in attaining the kilt in the pipes and drums, the kilt kid is now pressing forward for his highlander. But first it’s important to get the rundown on the old kilt. Where else would one go apart from Debretts – the authority on Etiquette, Taste and Achievement? And here it is – 2 rules:

There are two rules when it comes to kilts: they should only be worn by those with a Scottish or Gaelic connection; and the correct attire must be worn to suit the occasion.
Formal kiltwear involves donning one’s own tartan – modern, ancient or dress. Ensure that the length of the kilt is right: whilst the contemporary trend is towards the shorter kilt, which sits above the knee, traditional wearers insist that it should sit high on the waist – beneath the bottom rib, and rest between the top and middle of the kneecap.

Accompaniments depend on the occasion. Daywear requires a plain tweed jacket, accompanied by plain sporran, shirt and tie, hose and brogues. The Prince Charlie or Kenmore doublet is appropriate for eveningwear. Marry this with a dress sporran, which is usually decorated with fur. For a more versatile and less formal look, don an Argyll outfit: worn with a standard white shirt and classic tie, this attire is suitable for Burns Suppers, ceilidhs and afternoon weddings.

Now while we are at it and in the swing of things royal following the big royal wedding, it is no doubt useful to review the royalty etiquette care of Debretts (just in case you bump into HRH while on tour one day):

There is no accepted code of behaviour for encounters with royalty, but adhering to the traditional forms of address will prevent anxiety.

When you meet The Queen or other female member of the Royal Family for the first time you should address them as ‘Your Majesty’ or ‘Your Royal Highness’ respectively. From then on use ‘Ma’am’, which should rhyme with ‘Pam’. For male members of the Royal Family, use ‘Your Royal Highness’ and subsequently ‘Sir’.

When being introduced to a member of the Royal Family men should bow and women curtsey. A handshake is also acceptable. The bow should be made by bending from the neck or shoulders (not the waist) while briefly lowering your eyes. Bow again when the member of the Royal Family leaves. To make a curtsey briefly bend your knees with one foot forward (a bob rather a full balletic sweep). This should again be performed when the member of the Royal Family leaves. Should you happen upon a royal during their time off, allow them the freedom to go about their business as an ordinary person. Assume that to royalty, being left alone is far from a slur; it is a luxury.
So there you have it…just remember it rhymes with Pam!

Quick Quiz Identification????

Here are the four siblings of Miss Persistent and Mr Fute Baa when they were younger visiting Lord Howe Island. But now they have grown up how well do you know these siblings? We know them now as The Uni Student, the Apprentice, the Princess of Merimbula and the Kilt Kid (also known as The Lout on facebook), but can you identify them from their past antics and sayings. Try this quick quiz:

1 Who was it who recited the litany of forgets one night:

“Dad just forgets everything…he forgets a hug and a kiss, he forgets to read a book, he forgets colouring in time and… (pause – time gets longer between each phrase as the list lengthens) and…, and he forgets to say who’s going to sleep in the bunk bed. He’s a very forgetful man!”

[So complained one  4 year old sibling to the other a minute after their forgetful father had put them to bed.]

2  Which child at age 5 was examining a medical science textbook and then asked:  “Dad, where does the baby come out of the mother?”

3  Who said this in their school drama performance: “Look at that sheila over there – I’ve seen better legs on a centipede.”

4  Who was the centrepiece of the famous breakfast commotion? The occasion in question was when piglet was found in a Rice Bubbles box one morning. Who snatched piglet from their brother who had just found him, then stomped upstairs after being told off by their parents and promptly threw brother’s Big Ted, little lion and  then father’s Zeke the Zebra out the window in a storm of protest.

Wedding bells!!

Hye Fred, guess what? I was at this place, which has a long name which you wouldn’t be able to say, called Wisslemonster Abbaye when we went to London a few years ago. You were kind of there on the inner tour, if you remember. Well, the thing is Fred, I went into the TV room tonight after you went to bed and there was mum and Em and even Seb watching TV – and waddyaknow – it was the very same Wisslemonster. There was a very pretty lady in white and a real smart-looking fellow and lots and lots of people. I was so excited that I started doing somersaults on the chair and some handstands, and then I tried some acrobatic balancing on mum’s knees while some man was reading from the bible (Romans 12). It turns out that this was some special wedding and there was a man with a big pointy hat who said funny words like ‘betwixt’ which made it all even more special. He was very clever at putting that hat back on quick smart. There was also some fun singing – Dad liked ‘Bread of heaven, feed me now and evermore’ and there was another one we sing at church sometimes called ‘Love Divine’. Mum said that this was all about love and that’s why she had such a pretty white dress. (Not mum, Fred, the lady at the Abbaye). I was having a great time until suddenly mum jumped up after the reading and prayer and wanted to change my nappy and before I knew it Dad was tucking me into bed. But boy, it was a big day – she was a real princess. It was a very happy day. Dad says that when he was at Wisslemonster last time he saw a real, live princess too – she was in a pram which he was pushing. Oh, Daddy, you can be funny! Em and mummy looked very happy watching the wedding – and apparently cousin Jen is having a big wedding day like this too. She’s just speaking to Uncle Jeremy about it according to Facebook. I’m looking forward to that day. Weddings are specially happy occasions, Fred. You’ll see one day and you can join me next time doing acrobatics. I’m told it could be Jennifer and Harry – I can’t wait!!

The Question

Holidays with one’s children can bring precious moments which remain unforgettable. There were no holidays away over this Easter break for the lane freeway, however, this very date 5 years ago remains etched in your correspondent’s memory. Why? It was all in the timing and nature of one short question. Having just returned from holidays in Bundanoon, three of the youngsters watched with their father a fascinating David Attenborough documentary on the life of elephants. It was lovely to observe the antics of one baby elephant via the technological expertise of both ‘dung-cam’ and ‘plop-cam’. Bub happily played in the mud and drank next to dung-cam, deposited near plop-cam, and was protected by mum. As he followed the matriarch of the tribe it was a joy to see how thoroughly he was enjoying the carefree life of a baby elephant in the wild. There were no other male elephants around; well none at first. But then a bull elephant appeared on the scene and, as inevitably happens in these wildlife docos, the subject of mating arose. The family were still delighting in little bub and marvelling at the trunk skills of his companions, as dung-cam’s focus gradually shifted across to the incoming bull elephant. All of a sudden, our new arrival, Mr bull elephant began to chase the matriarch with more than a little enthusiasm and vigour. It was at this point that the youngest member of the TV audience piped up with the question which captured so brilliantly this  8 year old’s enquiring mind, innocent nature and exquisite turn of phrase: “What’s that big thing hanging down between his legs?”

Excuses, excuses…

You know, Zoe, there have been a few people asking what’s been happening with our blog lately? I heard them mentioning it and you should hear some of the excuses which Dad comes up with. Talk about lame! Problems with the camera, can’t remember passwords, sore eye, sore arm, sore back, sore neck… I tell you when you speak about the old man, you are right on the money, Zoe. We have a very old man as far as I can see! I reckon you and I are going to have to do some serious work to keep him up to speed…I mean it’s just not good enough letting a whole month whiz by without any freeway updates. If my brothers are anything to go by, then my days of looking cute are limited and I need to get all the mileage I can out of them. So keep up the good work in the middle of the night, Zoe, and we’ll keep those fitness runs up and out of bed going so as to keep him on the ball. Otherwise he’ll just become a moaning, groaning old fuddy duddy – and, I tell you, I’m not having any of that nonsense! Excuses, excuses. I want a vigorous, vital, blog-posting pop otherwise if he’s not careful I’ll be putting in for a transfer!!