29 March 2008

four adults, seven boy-children and a big orange canoe

Our Easter camping trip ended with a bang, literally.

On the fourth night a ferocious thunderstorm hit, collapsing our kitchen shelter and sending a small river through the campsite and into our tents. Well, into our sleeping bags and clothes, primarily.

A wet pack up and days of rain since (rain! hooray really!) have meant it's been nigh impossible to wash and dry the enormous pile of sodden, muddy clothing we brought home, let alone launder the slowly mildewing bedding and rinse off the tents.

Combine that with a few recent weekends away, little time (or inclination) to clean the house and school holidays and you have a house overwhelmed with filth and clutter and a somewhat harassed me.

Before the rain, we did manage to have a marvellous time. We shared a site with friends and then discovered four other families from Son #3's school on the neighboring site so the children all joined forces and ran as a 15-strong pack, ranging in ages from 18 months to 16 years.

There were lots of wonderful walks to be had,

scenery to admire,
Mr Soup partakes of the scenery

spooky trees,
spooky trees

wildflowers and grasses,

a lake to explore,

amazing views,

and even some sunny skies.
blue sky before the storm

More pictures at flickr, and also here (last year's trip; same families, same location, different walks, less rain).

And now if you need me, I'll be checking the Target catalogue, wondering whether it's worth washing and drying five pillows.

12 March 2008

show and tell

Look. Some warm woolly hats to make you swelter, just in case Melbourne's forecast of 38 degrees tomorrow and 39 the next day isn't enough for you ...

I was commissioned by a friend to knit these for another friend's children as a hospitality gift. I proudly display them here in the hope that it will guilt Bec into reopening her blog to show the hats actually on heads rather than here on my couch.

The little pink flower hat was for, who else, the Sparkle Twin.
flower hat for the Sparkle Twin

A stripey number in peaches and apricots for the Pea Princess,
stripey hat for the Pea Princess

and masculine stripes [with a touch of elf] for the Gorgeous Boy.
stripey hat for the Gorgeous Boy

I've had reports that they fit well and are generally a success. But gees, I'd love to see them on. (Hint hint).

That's it for now. If you need me, I'm on the couch, trying to get interested in either one of the books I currently have on the go - The Gathering by Anne Enright which I'm finding rather waffly and like every other Irish book I've ever read (does it get better? I'm losing interest) and The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley which I read when I was in my 20s and I think that's the perfect age to read it. I'm finding it extremely tedious and dated this time round. I've also just finished listening to Salman Rushdie on tape (The Ground Beneath her Feet) and was fairly meh over that too. It's a [very] loose retelling of the Orpheus myth but is very long (again with the waffly) and frankly I didn't care about any of the main characters. Perhaps it's just my mood lately but everything I read is just blah. I have on my bedside table Saturday by Ian McEwan but one needs to be feeling emotionally strong to pick up McEwan so might leave that for now, The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs because how could I not buy a book with that title? and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen. Of course on my to-be-read bookshelf I have approximately fifty seven more books but who's counting?

10 March 2008

gathering speed

St Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne

We're in the middle of another heatwave, and as I sip tea and eat lemon myrtle shortbread in the cool morning light of my study, I watch the rosellas and lorikeets nibble on the seed bells strung in the trees outside my window. They arrive in pairs and chatter gently to each other until our resident family of seven currawongs arrive and flap their wings menacingly.

Block Arcade, Melbourne

The currawongs are gentle really, despite their mournful cries and funereal appearance. Several of them are babies, albeit as large as the adults, and they, together with the mischievous magpies, have a wonderful time flinging the peastraw mulch around the place, burying my tender seedlings and making a mess on the brick path.

Block Arcade, Melbourne

A pigeon lands on the roof of the birdfeeder, swinging it wildly and unnerving the bird inside.

Block Arcade, Melbourne

It's a public holiday here although Mr Soup has headed off to work as per usual. The children are playing Monopoly (again) and I am uploading photos, musing, planning, making mental checklists for both Craft Retreat this coming weekend and Easter camping shortly after. Food to organise, equipment to check, lists to tick off. It overwhelms me.

Block Arcade, Melbourne

Tonight I'm off to the Australian Chamber Orchestra with L.

spiral staircase, Carlton

Thank you for all your birthday wishes; I felt very spoilt indeed. It was a quietish birthday weekend with lunch at a local riverside cafe and not much else. Both the washing machine and the toaster broke but I tried not to take it personally. Mr Soup pulled the washing machine apart and put it back together saying he couldn't find anything blocked or kinked or wrong with it, but it's somehow working again so in between lying in the hammock with a book and demanding tea and chocolate be brought to me at regular intervals, I did massive amounts of laundry. The cake I baked was excellent, if I say so myself.

birthday morning

I am missing Sueeeus' quiet presence about the house; the sound of her filling the kettle for more tea, her gentle voice as she tells the children about some snippet of life on the other side of the globe.

It feels as though I stood outside my real life for a couple of weeks - stepped sideways and experienced a brief reprieve. The juggernaut is fast gathering speed however; when I arrived at the office after a tearful airport farewell to Sue, I found there had been a tragedy at work and I will be working an extra day for a few months to help cover for an absent colleague. Together with my other little one day a week "play" job and one day a week at Uni, I'll be fulltime for a while. Blogging may well take a backseat.

evening light in a lemon scented gum, Carlton

Tomorrow I will buy a new toaster, kiss my babes and try not to clench my insides every time they cross the road.

8 March 2008

The Report

Sue (Sueeeus) and I met when I spent a year in the US as an exchange student. Twenty six years ago - a fact that makes me feel rather old. (Forty-four years old in fact. Today!)

Six years ago I flew back across the Pacific and we picked up right where we left off. We attended our twentieth year high school reunion, caught up with old pals and visited the neighborhood. We played tourist in the big city where Sue now lives, talked and talked and talked and talked until I flew away and we continued our friendship via email and later the blogosphere.

It's a friendship I treasure, and one that has remained close despite the distance. Last week we hooked up once again when Sue braved the airways and came to my part of the world finally, after many years of nagging encouragement.

What a wirlwhind! We walked, talked, admired, played tourist, met some other bloggers at Federation Square, hung out, knitted, met the wildlife, strolled along the river, played on the beach, escaped to Wye River for the weekend and generally had a totally awesomely cool sick time. (Trying to not sound like a forty-four year old and failing miserably, that's me).

I'm still dealing with all the photos, but here's a selection for you to go on with. The rest are on my flickr if you're interested.

Mr and Mrs King Parrot
King Parrots at Wye River

He was having sweet dreams. Look at the smile on his face.
sweet dreams

Wye River beach and rockpools
sandrockpool decorrockpoolWye River rockpools

Sand games
Suse and Sueeeus

Two grown women trying to conquer the technology ... and finally discovering the self timer setting on the cameras.
IMG_5001Suse and SueeeusSueeeus and SuseSueeeus and Suse discover the self timer

Now if you'll excuse me I have to go bake my own birthday cake.

ps. I just had a funny conversation with Mr Soup who tried to assure me I can't be forty-four, because heavens! that would mean he's about to turn forty-five and he's quite quite sure that's not true. It took us a good ten minutes to recalculate and decide that yes I'm right.

7 March 2008

I know, I know ...

Look, I know you're waiting to hear about Sueeeus' visit and I did blog, really I did, but Blogger kindly ate it so I got the huffs and watched a West Wing dvd instead. (And did the grocery shopping and made the beds and went to work and missed my first day of semester at Uni thanks to a rescheduled meeting that I couldn't get out of, welcomed the middle child back from camp and did lots of laundry etc).

So it's been kind of busy ok?

But I can tell you that Sueeeus is now safely in the bosom of the Bec and Call household but prior to that we had a fabulous 10 days. Really.

Photos soon, I promise.

In the meantime, please enjoy a lemon.