Monday, January 28, 2008

Are we Australian enough?

We didn't drape ourselves in the flag, wipe ourselves out, cover ourselves in Oz-traliana, emerge from a storm water drain at Big Day Out, nor did we leave our environment clogged with our dead marines and fast food packaging. Rob and I wondered if we were Australian enough as we skirted around the desperate, alcohol fuelled 24 hour party that was Coogee-Bondi on Australia Day.

Clare P. took us out to Kazbah, a brilliant and buzzy Moroccan cafe in Darling Street Balmain on Sunday. For the first time ever we enjoyed Tagine for our late, lengthy breakfast, followed by a dark chocolate, fig and berry pan cake with butterscotch sauce. The food was amazingly good and very exotic and we found hours went by as we chatted to Clare, catching up on all her news and the state of the world.

We spent more time together after our late brunch strolling around Darling street, buying up the last remaining goodies at Adriana Zumbo's and another killer outfit for Ella at Bambino's. Clare is looking more gorgeous than ever but still working killer hours for Optus.

We got back to Canberra in time today to catch up with J&J and little E. Ella has a brand new short, short hair cut and has worked out how to drink from a cup by herself. J&J were able to enjoy a great meal out at My's over the weekend while Ella amused herself trying out her new skill.

Another great source of entertainment is eating(?) rusks.

Ella is growing fast and doing something new every week now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Big Day Out

Rodney's at pitcha-resk Piallago gets all the mid week ingredients just right: Enormous big shade trees, green soft grass, a sturdy and stimulating playground, caffeine fix close by, lots of water features, INSECTS, and best of all, carnivorous plants.

This was my first weekday outing as a free woman, every other school based person in Canberra would be too busy sharpening their pencils for the year ahead to be involved in a Big Day Out this week.

Ollie and Angus were always diverted by the water features. Ella was very diverted by Ollie and Angus.

Angus approached the slippery slide like it was a bungy jump.

Ella, at eight months, finds a reason to smile at just about everything (but especially her mummy).

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Another year older

We celebrated Josh and Rob's January birthdays with a wild afternoon gathering on Saturday. Ella showed off how she can crawl, Angus and Ollie went crazy trying out all the new toys: our Christmas car, the new teddy and all the old favourites (Rob's vintage car and train collection etc).

John and Erin came full of plans for their trip to Thailand in 10 weeks. Jeremy and Claire have firmed up plans for their trip to Italy/Florence at the end of the year and we have been working on some of the details of our France/Turkey trip in September with M&R.

So lots of travel talk in between squeals of joy from the kids and downing bottles of boutique beers & sauv blancs to accompany my sang choy bow rice wraps (my own invention). It was wild!

Angus thought the early picked grapes were the best.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Ella's New Year resolutions

Hmm..this will take some thought........

1. Make sure my smiles are big enough to show off my perfect teeth: 4 so far with two more coming (on either side of the bottom two front teeth). I like looking after my teeth too; my baby toothbrush is one of my favourite things. I find lots of uses for it!

2. I can clap hands sideways, front ways, upside down, with mummy and on my own, and sometimes on request. I must keep this trick in my repertoire.

3. Find a way of keeping this dummy on call. Thank goodness I can at least put the thing in now when I find it!

4. I'm 8 kilos now, but my cousin Charlotte is catching me up. I must find a way to keep ahead of her!

5. Mummy is definitely my favourite person in the whole wide world (with daddy a close second) so people shouldn't feel hurt when I'm not prepared to leave my mummy and daddy just yet!

6. Making New Year resolutions is a serious business when you are only 7 and a half months old. I think I'll just go back to investigating (by mouth) all the beautiful toys in my playroom (with my mummy and daddy), rolling around the floor and pulling myself up in the sitting position which I can hold so easily now, and just let 2008 happen!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Holiday highlights

At lunchtime on 31 December 2007, from all corners of New South Wales we came, to have lunch together at dear old Clovelly Hotel. J&J & little E were returning home and we were all taking over the apartment from them for a New Year reunion of the Kenyon "girls".

Little E wasn't phased by her first visit to a pub. She found a few things to chew on including the Christmas decorations still festooning the bar walls.

These are the Kenyon girls all dressed and ready for a night out on the town (after the obligatory glass of Majella).

And these are the Coogee girls all dressed and ready for the same night out on the town (as seen from our apartment window).

Barzura was buzzing on New Year's Eve. Everything stopped at 9.30pm (kid friendly time) for the firework's display courtesy of the Randwick Council and us ratepayers. We had the best seats on the East Coast for the show. We saw the new year in on the Coogee Beach esplanade along with hundreds of drunken revellers (many of them extremely young).

Unlike the young revellers we were bright and perky enough the next morning to go for a LONG walk to Bronte and back before breakfast. We then took all our guests sightseeing around the eastern suburbs coastline (Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Watson's Bay) before heading to Sabbaba at Bondi for a scrumptious lunch. We enjoyed the last night of our reunion at Cocolo at the Spot, Randwick with a memorable sashimi and sushi meal freshly prepared by the maestro (worth the over one hour wait!).

We woke one morning to find a disaster had befallen our Freedom "Jasmine" bed, no doubt due to its serious structural design deficiencies. We made good use of uncollected telephone directories belonging to the good residents of Randwick to address the problem until Freedom organised a replacement Jasmine. Our new Jasmine has exactly the same design deficiencies so the phone books are staying in situ.

So all is good!

We went looking for Rodd Island (right smack in the middle of Iron Cove between Drummoyne and Rozelle) because of its links with Rob's family. John Tremayne Rodd (1777-1844) arrived in Sydney on 6 April 1822, a middle aged man and a widower, with three young sons: John (17), Robert (15) and Brent (13). Brent, unlike his brothers who became pastoralists, was eventually admitted to practise at the Supreme Court of NSW.

With marriage and a growing family (12 children in all) Brent Rodd eventually acquired significant land holdings in the Five Dock and Drummoyne areas. Rodd Island was the property of the family too, used for "picnics and entertaining". Brent relinquished his claim to the island in the late 1890s and it is now managed by the Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Rob is a descendant of Brent's brother Robert so we have worked out that Brent Rodd, such a significant figure in this area of the developing colony, was Rob's great grandfather's uncle!

Rodd Point, off Five Dock, was nice too, a quiet little haven guarding the cove entry to Haberfield.

Rob was interested to find the Brent Rodd Family vault in Rodd Point Reserve. The memorial and cross was hewn by convicts from a single slab of sandstone.

Afterwards we went exploring at nearby Balmain. We thought we found the best park in Sydney (the Elkington Park) and possibly the best patisserie in the world; Antonio Zumbo in Darling St. What a combination!

The Dawn Fraser pool is on the rim of Elkington Park. I didn't realise Dawnie did all her swimming in an enclosure of the Parramatta River - not a proper swimming pool!

I had just eaten a spinach, goat's cheese and blueberry quiche and a walnut and cinnamon pretzel!

Another day we explored The Spit region and Balmoral Beach. We were pretty impressed with the astounding architecture at and the outlook from Chinamans Beach at the the Spit.
We peeked in the window of Serge Dansereau's beautiful Bather's Pavillion Restaurant at Balmoral Beach.
We found Balmoral Beach to be exceedingly genteel.

The grassy esplanade is shaded by huge old fig trees, a great place to munch on the designer fish and chips available from "Under the Harbour", one of the few upmarket food establishments along the beach road (no nastiness allowed). It was fun observing the languid activity on the beautiful yachts moored just off shore.

Anyway, back in Coogee real life goes on...I was sitting at our window when this accident happened on Carrington Road. It was also a crime scene because the perpetrator just drove away (fast) from the scene. There was very quick response by police, fire and ambulance.

Amazing Sydney; we love it!