Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Nannablogger

Ollie's own camera work shows the nannablogger in full flight. This is how Miss E mostly sees me, with a big black glass and plastic thing attached to my face.

She's never stopped smiling though, despite the scary nanna apparition waiting for her every move.

Miss E returned from her weekend down the coast this afternoon, in time for a big afternoon tea of leftovers (frittata & banana muffins) before taking Nellie the beagle back home.

Nellie had a great weekend here checking off her list of favourite things to do. The long walk to the Woden Farmer's Market on Sunday morning is especially good but so is finding all the ancient bones from 100 years ago in our garden.

We enjoyed cool clear Autumn weather this weekend, the leaves are changing colour and we can start to hear the distinctive Autumn bird sounds. We bought the last of the local plums at the farmers market this morning + some sun dried versions. After a guided tasting we also developed an instant passion for the local Lowanna's Paddock olive oil and have been dipping into it all day with slices of freshly baked Dom's Italian olive bread.

Quite a bit of real estate movement around us at the moment. the house over the road is up for auction next month after its four year long makeover. Will the interest rate rises affect interest in this market?

I am the spokesperson for the new ACT Public Education Alliance (comprised of the local teachers' union, the ACT Principals Association, P&C Council, the Preschool Association and the Save our Schools Committee). The Alliance was launched last week and a little bit of media interest was generated. The interest was at quite a shallow level however. They just want to know which politicians we want to support and which are in our bad books (it is an election year this year in the ACT)!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Easter story

Our family's take on Easter is a tricky one. We're all agnostics so we don't get into the Christian rituals; none of us like crass commercialism so we don't do the Easter Bunny (or even Bilby thing) either. We're all into sustainability, limiting our carbon footprints and getting into whole foods, minimising refined sugar and processed food etc......... which means making up our family's Easter story is a challenge.

We started at Weston Park, the only place left in Canberra with green grass - great to roll around on.
Rob & A. tried to ascertain where the choo choo train was, in the case a ride might eventuate later.

Little A. learnt how to kick a soccer ball with the big boys.

Big O talked to the swans about our Easter dilemma.

Miss E weighed up whether she would feed the swans her piece of Great-Granny's coconut cake or eat it herself. She wisely decided to eat it herself.

One last kick before the Easter egg hunt.

By following the green string lines - woven all through the gum trees, the boys found glittery, pretty, pastel coloured, non edible eggs. It was quite an exciting process 'cos the string actually made it quite dangerous for the boys to navigate and not trip over, and at one stage the circulation to big O's hand was placed at risk by having the string so tightly wound around his wrist.

Little A found yellow ones which was lucky 'cos that is one of the words in his rapidly expanding vocabulary.

Miss E thought her pretty pink glittery one was rather entrancing (better than her dummy!).

Luckily, at the end of the hunt big O found the real deal - the proper chocolate version (all natural ingredients).

Miss Ella doesn't know about chocolate yet and was thrilled with the growing number of Autumn leaves in the park.

And walking around and around with her favourite Mummy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Tetsuya and Archibald

This was our long anticipated "Tetsuya's weekend": celebrating Judy L.'s birthday at one of the top five restaurants in the world (according to London's Restaurant Guide), right here in Kent St Sydney, the most unlikely end of the city to find this exquisite, perfectly proportioned, Japanese style pavillion building surrounded by zen like gardens.

12 courses in the degustation menu, thirteen if you include the Pacific oysters from Tasmania, each prepared and presented with exquisite balance and refinement, with Japanese references obvious in each course.

Tetsuya’s signature dish was our favourite: confit of ocean trout served with unpasteurised ocean trout roe, daikon & fennel, but the double cooked de-boned spatchcock with olive & caper jus was an amazing dish too. I found the grilled wagyu beef with lime and wasabi delicious, but extremely rich.

We shared the degustation wine list between two people, which was just as well as 9 glasses of wine (each only a bit smaller than a standard glass) would have had as all under the table. Having the Fischer's there to guide us through the aromas and the layers of flavours made it a very rich experience. The Margaret River Merlot was our favourite.

We fitted in a visit to the 08 Archibald Prize Exhibition (& the Wynne & Sulman) at the Art Gallery of NSW this weekend too. Its always a fun experience to see the Archibald entries and pass comment on the judges' choice and marvel at and/or turn our noses up at the work of the up and coming and/or established portrait painters. Our pick was the Jon Farriss (from INXS) portrait - and a thumbs down for the winner "You are what is most beautiful about me".

The L's & Fischer's stayed five star at the Meriton World Towers Hotel with the stunning full length glass window city views and we stayed 2 star(?) at 8/85. The morning walks at Coogee are 5 star however, as is the general ambience.

Once again we were able to catch up with J&J and Miss E on our return to Canberra. Miss E enjoyed the organic crackers and Baba Hummus we brought her home from Maloney's Grocer at Coogee. I was lucky to capture her doing her new yoga pose on the floor: "the downward facing dog". Jody says she does it when she is tired of standing up. I used to hate this pose in my yoga days, but Miss E looks like she can do it with ease!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Revenge is sweet

  • So many reasons to gloat:

    the sight of "wimpy" so graciously accepting his gong from the Insitute of Neo Cons. in Washington (that influential but misguided, non think tank of far right, black suits) then bagging Australia and dumping on the new Rudd govt. policies in his acceptance speech...very endearing!

    the sight of poor Brendan, of the 7% preferred status, struggling to hold it all together

    seeing the fab four caught out: Lord Downer being his glorious, absent, patronising self;
    Vaile lobbying in the Middle East; Tuckey on his cruise; Costello sleeping or web surfing on the back doesn't get much better than this!

But more importantly...... Great to hear news that Davey eventually overcame all obstacles and got to Vietnam, loved his time there and is now safely back in London.

We detected the first signs of early Autumn in the air in Sydney this long weekend (Canberra's birthday weekend) a great three day break for us, especially enjoyable for the day we shared with Clare exploring the foodie delights of Cabramatta and later on the wondrous Harris Farm shop at Broadway. Breakfast at Coogee this morning doesn't come any better: fresh figs and my handmade bircher muesli topped with Danny's greek style passionfruit yoghurt.

I felt like I deserved my long weekend this week as I have started to do a bit of work for the department. I haven't chased this found me! So far I think I have committed to a couple of days a week of interesting, relatively stress free work.

We were lucky enough to catch Miss E this afternoon straight after her bath. She loves her penguins with the bell, a great distraction when getting dressed, and knows already not to put them in her mouth. Miss E loved eating Thai for lunch today: stir fry tofu and vegetables with ginger...she loved it all.

Soapy clean from her bath, milk soft skin, lots of happy smiles, a perfect time for a walk on the grass at dusk. I predict she will be walking on her own sometime in the next month or so.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Travelling Davey

Davey came back to Oz last week, creating huge excitement for the family, but especially for big O and little A. They share his affinity for London buses, digital cameras, comics, making music and dressing up. We all loved hearing about the amazing Cath, of life in Hackney and work in Shoreditch, and about his seriously underfunded travel tales. We waved him off early Sunday morning in Sydney with fingers crossed for his eventual return to London via Vietnam. At this stage there are a few doubts about the Vietnam part.

Ollie revealed his sense of humour in figuring out how to take embarrassingly candid shots of the family with Davey's camera.

Angus made sure he always sat the closest to his Uncle D............
but Claire and Davey managed to find a few minutes to catch up on old times.

The amazing Cath sent over some killer Topshot outfits for the family, including a trendy new grey marle hoodie for Ella. Ella came to breakfast on Sunday morning with J but without her darling mummy as she has been very sick with bronchitis all week. I have been lucky enough to spend a lot of time with her while Jody has been recovering.

Ella thinks her sniffing trick is so clever she uses it in all her social interactions now. She quickly realised that Erin is a person she needs to get to know better too.

We had a fluffy monkey and an excited, shiny elephant come to Davey's farewell breakfast (as you do).

The only way the shiny grey elephant was allowed on the bed was to feign sleepiness.

Davey's capacity to stage an impromptu performance of Moon River is one of the reasons he is considered such a legend................but the younger set was a bit unsure to begin with.

Angie shows every sign of wanting to be a guitar legend like his Uncle D too.

Who knows when we will we see him again in Oz.