Sunday, July 26, 2009

Celebrating five years

Ollie's birthday party started with a drama for us as we dealt with an urgent phone call from Granny K. She'd had an early morning nasty fall and gashed her head....blood everywhere but no stitches needed we decided. Luckily she'd completed her party baking commitments, all safely boxed up away from the blood spatters. It takes more than a good fright, a bang on the head and lashings of blood to stop our mid-nineties mother from going to a party!
Super-heroes was the party theme. Ollie invited all his guests into the spacious and well organised Jerra Community Centre with great charm and maturity. He wore his new Batman costume, Angie wore his new, shiny, nylon astronaut suit and Ella, like all the other girls present, wore her favourite fairy princess costume.

There was even enough room for a jumping castle!

The five year old boys at the party were a lot like Ollie......serene, gentle, intelligent souls with great concentration and good communication skills.

Claire had everything beautifully organised so it was a very calm party with everybody happy and well fed (with no junk food at all).

The boys seemed mesmerised by Granny K.'s Hot Wheels present. It took them AGES to figure out how to put it together and then, for the rest of the party, took it in turns to spin cars around it.

Angie spent the time building up a sweat in his astronaut suit, throwing balls and brandishing glow sticks.

Bringing out the birthday cake was a great excuse for a sugar fix and cheesy group photo. I enjoyed seeing the change in the kids since I took their pictures at Ollie's 3rd birthday party.

I think Ella enjoyed the party the most of anyone. It ticked all her boxes...a chance to dress up, be with her gorgeous cousins and their friends, jumping, blowing bubbles, eating CAKE!

These last two shots were taken in the final moments of the party as the jumping castle capsized. I love the Helen Bonham Carter look alike on the right!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

5,000 kms of family and friends

We're back in Canberra tonight after our two and a bit weeks of travelling, in milder climates, re-establishing contact with interstate family and friends. Rob's primary goal was to take his mother Bobbie back to her birthplace at Ivanhoe, a sheep property just over 20 kms out of Tambo (2 hours drive North from Charleville) in SW Queensland. It's a long drive from Canberra so we made the most of our stops at Sandy Beach, Brisbane, Roma and Charleville on the way and Brisbane, Sandy Beach and Coogee on the way back.

I thought SW Queensland was starkly beautiful with long, flat, uninterrupted views of sparsely grassed plains and the widest, bluest, clearest skies. The people were friendly and much more genteel than I expected. By Bobbie's descriptions this part of the country was really booming right up to the war years but here doesn't look to be a lot of money around now despite the number of flash, shiny, new 4 wheel drives being driven around by just about everyone.

We found one of the original Rodd family bores near Ivanhoe, still pumping away after all these years (around 100 we estimate).

We were so lucky that Stacey, the D-I-L of the current owner was able to show us around the Ivanhoe homestead. It had so many makeovers that the exterior was barely recognizable, but Bobbie found the interior was much more familiar. Stacey was just friendly and open...with such a new baby (Georgina) ...and quite isolated in this way out west place. I loved her dimples and her hat!

Rob provided a touch of drama when he cut his finger badly doing his civic duty picking up broken glass while we were tending his uncle's grave in the cemetery in Roma. We were amazed at the quality and speed of service available at Roma Hospital. Three stitches administered so quickly and so competently; good on you Q'ld Health!

We loved our time with Ros and Pete at Sandy Beach. Ros and I had a chance to be silly sisters again, and.....

we loved our time together, relaxing in this warm, lush and green and mellow place, feeling so welcomed in Pete & Ros's beautiful new home and having time to enjoy good times together, talking, eating, drinking and walking those beautiful (and lately storm damaged) beaches!

Although we loved catching up with a Brisbane niece and a Sydney niece, it was very special this trip to reunite with our three difficult to catch nephews: Brisbane Joel, Brisbane Matthew and London Davey.

Although he works on a global stage Joel now loves calling Brisbane home. It was great to enjoy a Nepalese dinner with him in Paddington and get a night time glimpse of his newly acquired apartment in the buzzy village of Rosalie.

Everyone always says that there are some similarities in looks between Rob and his nephew Matthew. There certainly are aspects of the family sense of humour they share. Matthew is achieving great success in his chosen work (in communications), and loves his life with the beautiful (and soon to be Ph. D.) Mell, in their apartment in groovy West End.
We could not believe our luck in being able to meet up (in Coogee) with London Davey on our way home at the weekend. He managed to successfully renew his UK work visa (in record breaking time) and was on his way back to London yesterday, keen to meet up with Cath before she had to head out to LA.
We had a chance to reconnect, enjoy a good catch up and have a style up date (apparently flannelette shirts are cool again) while making sure Davey enjoyed one of the best Yum Chas on offer on the sweetest Sydney winter day you could imagine. We will all love seeing Davey and Cath together again in Australia for their holiday in early 2010.