Sunday, February 27, 2011

First go at The Show

Ella's Mummy and Daddy agreed to us taking her to the Canberra Show, her first visit to The Show, and our first visit for many, many years.

With no real idea of what The Show was all about Ella was quick to establish her goals for our Show outing! She wanted a ride on the "teacup ride" (like the little "Mad Hatter's Tea Party" ride at Floriade) and she wanted to try fairy floss (an amount the size of her hand-her Mummy's rule). The fairy floss goal was probably my fault as I've done a lot of fairy floss talk trying to get her to have a more positive attitude to the spiders' webs festooned all over our garden.

Our goal was to show her the "country to the city" experience that we think is the best part of the Show for kids. Accordingly we walked her straight past the rides and sideshow alley and up to the farmyard nursery for our first stop.

As expected she enjoyed about two hours here getting to feed and pet some adorable baby farm animals.

including the baby pigs in the outside enclosure

and some very sooky donkeys who loved having their ears scratched.

After checking out some big cows in the judging ring ("They are bulls, Banny", Ella corrected me)and the beautifully groomed horses and riders in the dressage events we sat and ate our lunch under the shady trees (all wholesome and all brought from home) before heading down sideshow alley in search of the teacup ride.

Ella found the dodgem cars too tempting however. Rob was amazed at her ability to channel her speed fiend Daddy on the Go Kart track. She did all the steering (mostly) and laughed with delight the whole time even when the teenage boys' cars bumped her.

And just as much fun was the steep, speedy but soft ride down the inflatable shark(??) which Ella repeated over and over and over and over again, all with this look of pure delight on her face. Getting her off this ride in the end was the only thing we came close to having a disagreement about all day.

She ate her handful size clump of fairy floss and was generous enough to offer Rob and me some microscopic size pieces too. We bought it for her right at the end when she was so exhausted she didn't have the energy to notice that we'd quickly stuffed the rest of the fairy floss pack in the bin when her handful was all eaten.
When I asked Ella how she'd rate the Canberra Show out of ten she counted up to 50 for me and then announced she'd give it 101!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Back to normal

It's been a very busy two weeks for us with Shane the painter busy in one half of the house and then Tim the carpet layer finishing off our house reno late last week. We were sick of moving things, sorting things, packing and unpacking things, and trying to find vital bits and pieces we'd forgotten the location of, in our late night pack ups.

Ella had no trouble coping with our house in chaos. She found it all rather exciting and really enjoyed the company of Tim the carpet layer. We all agreed he was one cool dude with an awesome set of tools and very nice blue eyes.

Jody went back to work this week so we were lucky enough to have Ella's company for two days of high energy, non-stop action and in depth conversations about just about everything known to man or woman.

Ella has a very busy schedule this term: two mornings a week at proper play school (conducted at a neighbourhood Preschool), swimming class on Tuesdays, dance lesson Wednesday afternoon (Claire takes this class!), lunch with Daddy one day a week, and then two days with us. So far she seems to be thriving on all this intense activity!

We really enjoyed Canberra's Multicultural Festival this year, joining around 100,000 other people in the City to enjoy being crowded (unusual for Canberra), experiencing a cacophony of sound and movement (unusual for Canberra) queuing for food (unusual for us) and meeting up with almost every other Canberran we know doing the same thing.

I had a chat with Constable Kenny Koala and tried to teach him one of Ella's favourite sayings from "Fireman Sam" (uttered by an Aussie fireman character with a broad Australian accent): "Flying Koalas..... its raining sideways" except you have to say it: "Floi - ing Koi's roi-ning soide-woiys"...Ella can do it perfectly!
Unfortunately Kenny Koala didn't seem to find it as funny as I did. I think he was trying to maintain his Constable Plod decorum.

Highlights of the festival for me were getting to talk to the Director of the French Film Festival which opened in Canberra on the 18 February with a screening of Potiche (Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve), finding out about the Australian Cuban Friendship Society and their low cost work and study tours to Cuba, checking out the chef's moves at the Moroccan tent and getting to catch up with some of my favourite ex students (sisters) at the Palestinian tent. They are both going back to the Middle East early next year with their family, after a four year break. I wonder what they will find!

We ended off our multicultural weekend on Sunday evening with a French film: Marriage a Trois. We were amazed to see so many people get up and walk out in the first hour. Were they surprised that the actors all spoke French, that nothing much was happening and that the characters talked endlessly and in circles about their feelings and their relationships?...yes, it was a French film! All the more enjoyable for us because we hadn't seen the work of the wonderful Julie Depardieu before (Gerard's daughter).
During the week before we'd gone to the opening of The Sapphires, a musical story of the real life experiences of an Australian Aboriginal girl band in the sixties and seventies. They'd travelled to Vietnam to entertain the troops and experienced a lot of love, joy, heartache and racism along the way. We loved the show and really enjoyed the after show party and the chance to meet with some celebrities (everyone from K. Rudd to Casey Donovan) including cast members, and other Aboriginal friends and colleagues.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Baby blogging

This proves it's never too early to start blogging!

Sweet dreams darling Eddie Arthur - now one and a half weeks old!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Ballets Russes

Our National Gallery has a bigger collection of costumes and accessories from the Ballets Russes than any other institution in the world. It's been 10 years since the collection has been on show at the NGA so we didn't want to miss this exhibition, which includes restored costumes we've not seen before.

Seeing the exhibition with Ella and experiencing it according to her world of fairy tales, princes and princesses, scary wolves and mythical beings, dress ups and dancing was very inspiring.

We spent AGES together afterwards in the exhibition's activity centre, playing with patterns...

dancing in space age tutus to Russian hip hop music.........

constructing towers with brilliantly coloured blocks.........

and drawing MANY beautiful dancing ladies on strong black paper with those gorgeous German made graphite pencils.
We decided that purchasing a set of those pencils was the best souvenir of our lovely time together at this exhibition (although Ella did her best to persuade me to buy her the $150 pale pink satin leotard with crushed organdy frills as her little was just the right size too!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Baby Peanut

We're thrilled to be celebrating the arrival of this little cherub (aka Baby Peanut) at 3.45pm Monday 31 January (London time - early am Tuesday 1 February E.A.S.T.). He is a chubby little fellow (8lb 11oz), and now delivered safely to our London Cath and Davey.

Of course there was great excitement at this news over here, with much texting, phoning and Skyping allowing us to share this amazing news (and the photos) as events unfolded.

As soon as Ella heard the news about new baby Peanut she organised her BEST OUTFIT for some serious partying with the rest of the Oz branch of the family. The green and purple mermaid dress is perfect for swirly dancing, ballet arabesques and general fairy-ing around, such as you do when a beautiful new BABY has arrived.

Angus was so excited about the news of his brand new cousin he was prepared to bust his best Michael Jackson moves for the camera (usually a complete no-go!).

There was much sharing of photos (all so beautiful too, thanks to Davey's and Mal's camera skills) and discussion about whose nose /eyes / cheeks / dimples Baby Peanut has inherited. We all can't wait to see him (and have a cuddle)!

Birthdays are always celebrated with a cake in our family, so of course we had to ensure Peanut's birth day was recognized with one of Flute's finest pear and chocolate creations.

..... And share a toast to a wonderful future together for our new London based branch of the family. With all our love, best wishes and special thoughts to Cath, Davey and baby Peanut and many congratulations to the four proud and happy grandparents too.