Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sporty

It's been years since we've watched a basketball game. Ollie's team, the U/12 Queanbeyan Road Runners, were playing in the finals of their summer season on Saturday and we enjoyed being part of "team support" on the sidelines. Ollie plays in number 11 jersey.



Ollie's team finished the season undefeated - winning the finals 39:53......a fantastic effort and an exciting game to watch - with great skills on show!  It was a great result to report back to Granny Kenyon (still as sporty as ever!) who was really stoked about it. She still enjoys a sporting victory!

The girls had a very busy weekend - two birthday parties and gymnastics for Ella most of Saturday morning.  It didn't stop them from putting on their usual "afformance" for us in their garden this afternoon though - although I think an early night will be in order this evening.



Monday, March 23, 2015

Mad March

It feels like it has been a busy month. In the past three weeks we've been to Sydney (a day trip) and enjoyed: watching ten French films at our fave Palace Theatre as part of the annual Alliance Francaise French Film Festival; the annual lobster lunch with fiends at Rosedale; dinners and lunches with more friends at Walt & Burley on the Kingston Foreshore, Copper Chimney (Indian) in Civic, Pialligo Estate Farmhouse (WOW!) in picturesque Pialligo and Roti (Malaysian) in the ANU precinct. 

We've been to the mind blowing James Turrell retrospective exhibition at the NGA and helped pick 2 tonnes of Shiraz grapes at our friends' vineyard in Murrumbateman (yesterday). Oh yes and I've done a half day's volunteering for the worthy Days for Girls charity (and kept up my paid work commitments too!) PHEW!!!

Somehow I found time to acquire a new phone (iPhone 6) in the midst of all this and was inspired to try out its camera at the award night for the National Photographic Portrait Prize last Friday night. I was pretty happy to capture this shot with our fave film critics Margaret and David in the far distance.

If ALZ Joel is reading this he needs to consider entering this award next year. His work would easily make the grade!


I tried it out again the day after..a shot of my 100 (and a half) year old Mum.  She was very interested in my new phone and all the things it could do - but she thought this portrait showed all her wrinkles!!


I thought I'd keep to the theme and include the latest portraits of "my girls" (taken on my trusty little Fujifilm X20) in the late afternoon light on Sunday....







I thought Ella did a great job of capturing me in this shot - wrinkles and all - but just overexposed enough so it's not too scary!



Sunday, March 8, 2015

Lobster lunch (number 9 (sembilan))

Our Canberra birthday weekend started with much excitement - being able to pick, eat and (slowly) enjoy our first ripe fig grown on our OWN tree. We shared half with our neighbours as our tree is on the boundary of our properties and they contribute to keeping it watered too!

There was a second fig almost as ripe but we were too slow and the birds have got to it. We need to head out to Bunnings and invest in some netting!

Then on Sunday, it was down to Rosedale for another celebration of abundance - our annual lobster lunch - this time catered by Jane and Louise of Slick Catering, back in business after a two year break involving travel and other amazing adventures.

Judy L had secretly planned with them a menu based on the flavours we had enjoyed so much in Ubud, Bali last year. Janet De Neefe's "Fragrant Rice" proved to be a valuable reference point for Jane and Louise's take on south coast seafood, Bali style.

We managed to wait until 12.00 noon (sharp) to crack open the chilled Majella and welcome the arrival of some wonderful appetizers. Louise had barbecued Satay Lilit - ground fresh fish and spices moulded on lemongrass sticks for our first round of finger food, then little pots of Rujak (chilli - tamarind fruit salad)............

It was lovely to catch up with Fiona and James again, this time accompanied by Charlotte and Will. We heard all the news of their eventful lives as James settles into his challenging new job in Darwin and Fiona sorts out all the family business in Melbourne. 

While Jane serves Sate Ayam (chicken satay) served with Bumbu Kacang (peanut sauce)...a Bali favourite...

It's pretty interesting times for Jennie and Wayne too as they consider the future of the vineyard.  They're not quite as busy as they usually are at this time of year as most of their crop has been destroyed by the dreaded fungus - another sign of the really weird summer we've experienced in these parts.

To make sure they don't get used to being a bit less frenetically busy at this time of the year Jennie and Wayne have continued to host bands of pickers (this year 3 French girls and a couple of lads from Belgium) - finding work for them too in the local region.

Sophie was back for the lobster lunch this year after her break (in France) last year and Charlotte joined us for the first time this year. It was great to talk to her about life as a student in Melbourne, sharing a house in Fitzroy and looking forward to what the world will offer as she finishes her degree this year and celebrates a big birthday.

I didn't get a good pic of Maddi & Will this year so hope they will forgive me for that!

We were seated in time for the arrival of platters of wonderful fresh Clyde River oysters. Jane dressed them simply - with hints of Asian goodness (no recipes from Bali - there aren't many oysters served there!). They were superb (as usual).

Wayne can't eat crustaceans - but Jane and Louise always look after him very well anyway. We all enjoyed watching him unwrap his whole snapper steamed in fresh banana leaves, and savouring the coconut infused spicy flavours wafting over the whole table.

Our lobsters were a bit smaller than usual this year - the vagaries of nature! but delicious all the same served with their toasted spicy topping.  Balinese salads and saffron rice accompanied our lobster - the Urab Buncis (bean and coconut salad) being a standout favourite for most of us...with the gado gado inspired salad a close second.

How amazing is this dessert? - pandan flavoured, hand made icecream served with Bubur Injin (black rice pudding), slices of fresh mango and toasty meringue.  I learnt to ADORE black rice puddings in Bali and have spent many restaurant visits there finding my all time favourite.  Jane and Louise's black rice pudding is up there with the best there is!

Other elements of our Rosedale lunches were all there ..lots of laughter among good friends, the sound of  the ocean beyond the forest of tall spotted gums surrounding Judy and Jurgen's house; our favourite kookaburras were all there too watching over proceedings but keeping well clear of the flocks of bossy lorikeets.

We were all upright enough this year to enjoy a long walk after lunch along the beach with Forest, the golden retriever and Maggie the Jack Russel providing a few laughs as they vied with each other to be top dog.

We feel very lucky to be a part of this wonderful group of friends, able to enjoy such wonderful food and good times in an amazing environment like this..........  Thank you Judy and Jurgen, once again, for making it all possible.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Ode to light

It's a Canberra thing. There's a lot of us out there determined to enjoy everything our city offers (usually at the same place and the same time). So much so that this year's Enlighten festival and Night Noodle Market have been attracting the kind of crowds you'd see in Melbourne and Sydney (which are 10 times the size of Canberra!) festivals.

We went last night and found the queues for food to be quite OK (unlike at the weekend) - and enough space around to be able to eat picnic style without feeling too hemmed in by the crowd.

It was all great fun, in a perfect lakeside setting, but not a great foodie experience......was our verdict!


The architectural light projections on Canberra's national buildings are always fun to see....



 ..although I did think this year's light shows were more minimal than previous years......perhaps another austerity measure for our own good!


I did wonder how they chose the prime ministers' portraits for this light sequence on old Parliament House (or more importantly how did they decide who to leave off?). Kevin Rudd was a notable omission on the Labor side of the light show..and yet there was Julia Gillard, Gough, Hawkey and Keating!!

Despite my anti blue side bias my exposures turned out much better than in my red side shots!


I enjoyed this projection of Manly Beach SLSC members circa the 1930s on the National Library facade.

Grannie, G-G

We farewelled Rob's Mum on Sunday after a three week stay with us in Canberra. We knew it would be too hard to cope with the crowds by the lake at Enlighten so we drove her up to Mt Ainslie lookout on her last night to experience one of Canberra's awesome sunsets in full panovision.

And I must say it was truly awesome, by any definition!







 ..and as it turned out we could even experience a bit of Enlighten, from a great distance, looking south towards new Parliament House.


On our last morning together the young ones joined us for breakfast at the Hyatt - an established tradition by now. Bobbie is looking forward to another two great grandchildren arriving this year, a baby boy and girl and we're all in awe of her continuing productivity producing beautiful knitted things for all her expanding family!

Despite their physical challenges our elderly Mums are quite something!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sweet three

Abi is three! She's had three days of happy birthday fun culminating in the sweetest little celebration you could possibly wish for today.

My job was to create a puppy dog cake (Abi's choice)?? With a bit of help from Grandpa this is what I came up with..........


The party started with some new headbands to unwrap (and try on), a good size stash of kinetic sand, some new books......

 ..and this parcel from me......
It was at this point that Abi says VERY CLEARLY to everyone ...this doesn't look very interesting!!  Oh dear.......

..although the shiny orange ribbon belt tie did look like it had some possibilities.

With presents done it was time for Joshy to watch over the meat roasting and for the girls to watch over him.


Abi had a her little Playschool friend over for the celebration....about the right number of guests for a very sweet three year old party I think!

 These kids really love their Daddy's roast dinners (as does the friend).

Can you believe the amount of food on their plates? AND it all gets eaten. Abi likes to finish hers and then sit on Grandpa's lap and eat whatever she can steal from his plate too. Ella reckons Abi eats like "Henry the 8th". (something she's learnt about from "Horrible Histories")

 Plenty of time after for play in the back yard and no need for party games!



We finished off with birthday cake (as you do) - and the puppy dog cupcakes proved to be a big hit too!