Sunday, June 24, 2012


As we're past the winter equinox the days should start to seem a little brighter soon.  It's been a cold week and darkness feels like it comes on way too early.  We're very busy packing up Granny K for her big move and fitting in work commitments, household chores and quality time with E, J and A when we can.

A lot of our time is spent indoors... Ella celebrated two successful sessions at preschool this week (and a new haircut - with fringe) with a session of shoulder stands with Grandpa.

She's pretty pleased with herself at the moment.

The weather is perfect for Sunday lunch dates with young friends - great food and a chance for playtime with Yasmin.  She is just at that age when she really enjoys a present - and not just for the crinkly paper and the purple ribbon.

We could see fresh snow on the Brindabella Mountains at midday today from the west facing window of our friends' house in Garran.

But I did not feel any sympathy for this possum, brazenly swinging on our phone line near our back laundry door tonight. It is one member of the possum army that rages across our roof at random intervals most nights - I guess they're staying active to stay warm.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Jervis Bay Territory

My work provides support for the leadership team at Jervis Bay School, situated in the Jervis Bay Territory, about 200km south of Sydney.  The Commonwealth of Australia acquired the land and sea that forms the Jervis Bay Territory in 1915 and established the Royal Australian Naval College there, which was reopened in 1958 as the HMAS Creswell. 

The Jervis Bay School was originally established back in 1914 to serve the families at the naval college. HMAS Creswell and the Jervis Bay School remain on Department of Defense (Navy) land within the JB Territory. The ACT ETD has run the school on behalf of the Australian Government since 1974.

The area is also home to the Wreck Bay Aboriginal community who won a historic and long fought land rights claim granting them ownership of all the lands and sea in the Jervis Bay National Park (now named the Booderee National Park) back in 1986.  The Wreck Bay Aboriginal community jointly manages the national park with the Australian Govt. under a lease arrangement. In 1965 the school at the Wreck Bay Aboriginal settlement was transferred to the Jervis Bay School.

 This all means that the principal of Jervis Bay School has a very complex environment in which to run his school.......but a very beautiful and mostly pristine physical environment.  Anyway he chose to orient our work team (and my trusty driver) to the physical environment first: the gorgeous Murray's Beach, across the bay from the naval college and the school, and then Greenpatch Beach....

Greenpatch is claimed to have Australia's whitest sand (and therefore the bluest sea) but on this rainy cold day it just looked wet and grey to us.

There's great facilities for campers but no other development at Greenpatch......

so the kangaroos, kookaburras and wombats pretty much rule here. The Rosella's were very much in charge too; and clearly hoping we did not know the don't feed the birds rule.

The principal (and his guests) is always a welcome visitor at the Wreck Bay Aboriginal Community. In this pic below we're at one of the highest points in the village overlooking Summercloud Bay, a pristine spot for fishing, dolphin spotting, whale migration and good surfing under the right conditions.  The Wreck Bay community is a well run, tidy place but this wonderful location does make it difficult at times for the young people to stay at school when there are so many distractions (although at least they're healthy ones).

We spent an afternoon and morning at the Jervis Bay School.......gorgeous kids, great teachers but they do have to deal with a huge kangaroo problem. The kangaroos are everywhere, including one rogue one that recently had to be "dealt with" after bailing up the principal and two other big burly blokes in the playground.  There's kangaroo poo everywhere too - got to keep to the paths!

We stayed in Huskisson overnight and managed to fit in dinner at the Seagrass Brasserie, an amazing sunrise from the balcony of our motel room and a late delicious lunch at the Hyam's Beach Cafe before driving back to Canberra late on Friday afternoon.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

On the mat

In the last week or so Ella has mastered a proper, chin tuck, smooth roll, on the mat, somersault.  It was the right occasion for her to teach me how to send a video attachment of the milestone.... her daddy, using my iPhone.

It required a lot of repeat performances for me to get the framing right.

She can do them perfectly - one after the other - it's my camera work that needs the tweaking!

From the other mat Abi watches everything that Ella does - with all her attention focused and smiles ready.

Abi loves Ella being UP CLOSE the most, and in her face, which is just as well......

They're very tactile... Ell's very squeezy and boisterous and Abi gives almost as good as she gets, sucking on Ella's cheek and grabbing her hair nose and chin when she can.

In amongst all the love  we can see that Abi is starting to be much more conscious of the connection between her hand movement and how good it feels to hang on to someone's nose.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Coogee cocoon

It was a very cool and wet weekend in Sydney so apart from a few hours of retail therapy at Bondi Junction it was a perfect weekend for cocooning in Sydney, catching up with The West Wing series 4, the growing Gourmet Traveller collection and my excellent new book for Reconciliation Week Am I Black Enough For You (Dr Anita Heiss).

A lovely highlight was dinner last night at our favourite local restaurant, Barzura, beautifully located opposite the southern end of Coogee Beach. I loved my butterfly spatchcock with Moorish spices, pearl couscous and cucumber yoghurt. I couldn't recommend it highly enough.

Rob stuck with his usual Barzura pasta dish and found his Spaghetti marinara with prawns, calamari, fish, mussels, scallops and tomato sauce absolutely delicious. We also had a glass of a 2010 Petaluma Hundred line Cab Sauvignon, from Coonawarra. A wine we want much more of in the future!

I am toying with the idea of using some of my Coogee photos for something - not sure what yet! 



Friday, June 1, 2012

Catching up

Friday last week was a perfect day for catching up with Sydney family over an extended comfort food lunch, snug inside at our house on one of the coldest Canberra May days on record.

We had two babies in the house, both with names starting with A. They're second cousins born 4 months apart.  It's very amusing how much baby A resembles his grandfather C - only cuter.

We think his Mum and Dad make an exceptional couple too.

Miss Z and Ella, second cousins too, had a rollicking day together.  They both share a love of tiaras, dress ups and dancing, and exhausted us just watching their antics on the dance floor - for HOURS.

Great-grandma had an opportunity to see her knitting efforts meet their mark and an even more amazing opportunity to see four of her five great grandchildren in the one place.

Come time to leave and Ella and Miss Z were very loath to say goodbye.  They've made each other a promise to have their next play date at Luna Park in Sydney.

Then come Saturday, not quite as cold, but just as bleak, it was time for Sophie, Maddie and me to celebrate their birthdays with our annual date at the Hyatt for high tea.  At 13 and 15 years respectively Sophie and Maddie are entertaining company for our delightful afternoon catching up with school and holiday news over many plates of (mostly) raspberry embellished treats.