[A hungry koala on the move]  [Birds at the Low Isles]  [Saltwater Croc (a   [Family at Edith Falls]  [Waves and rocks at KI Lookout]  [Clara and Lucy relaxing at Bali Hai]  [Kookaburra sitting in the old gum tree...]

Australian Journal - August to October 2005

August 1-9, 2005 - Soccer and Birthday: Another school week started with the speeches for the junior school representative elections, and Clara's first soccer practice. Meanwhile, Lucy's class has a week of "benchmark testing" to get through. We've also added a few more pictures to the Yorke Peninsula trip pages (text here and pictures here. If you've visited recently, you'll also have noticed we cleaned out the last three months worth of journal - it is available below under "last month's journal" or above via the "journal entries from previous months" hyperlink. Nothing ever goes away - it just moves around! And we've also added links below to some webcams under the "More information about Adelaide" section. And we've added a page with other Australian Blogs (travel journals, etc.) that have caught our attention right here.

There was a bad accident in Germany recently, where the Australian women's national bicycling team was hit by a car driven by a young woman, resulting in one girl being killed, and several others injured. Clara's class and Lucy's class have been making card for one of the injured bikers who attended Wilderness. The girl who was killed was the daughter of a lady who taught a special class on health at Wilderness a few weeks ago.

Friday was Jeans for Genes Day, which is a day of fund-raising for medical research into genetic disorders. The Wilderness girls get to wear jeans instead of their regular school uniform if they bring in a gold coin ($1 or $2) donation. Then the weekend brought the event Lucy has been waiting for - her sleepover birthday party! Friday night, Clara and Tim went into town to pick up Lucy's main present, a new bike, while Lucy and Sandy worked on her birthday cake, a pink and green jello/whipped cream swirl cake. After Lucy was in bed, we brought her bike into the living room, put a bow on it, and stacked her other presents on the coffee table in front of it. The next morning, Lucy made several trips up and down the stairs without noticing - even after we suggested she go get her glasses, she still needed a hint to look in the living room! After breakfast, we opened her family presents, and then went back to work on party preparations. Lucy had invited friends Letitia, Tali, Isobel (just back the day before from several weeks traveling in Europe and the US) and Jessica; Jessica's older sister Allanah came along to keep Clara company. Lucy couldn't stand how slowly time was moving, even with a bike ride on her new bike to distract her - but finally it was 5 pm and her friends started to arrive.

First there were crafts - everyone got to decorate a foam visor and door sign, then a few games were played (Catch Phrase, On a Roll, Bop It, etc.), followed by dinner, more play and present opening, then cake, and finally a movie, followed by bed. All the little girls were quiet by 10:15, and Clara zonked out not long after, but Allanah couldn't get to sleep until after 11:15. However - noise started from the little girls at 5:30 am the next morning, so probably several little girls had naps on Sunday afternoon! Sandy prepared an early breakfast for Allanah and Jessica who had a swimming event to attend early that morning and then another breakfast later on as well. After 1st and 2nd breakfasts the girls played some more, with everyone signing Lucy's "Friendship Book" which one of her friends gave her. Then parents arrived to take their girls home, and we all relaxed and enjoyed a lazy afternoon.

August 10-25, 2005 - Routine: After the excitement of Lucy's birthday party, we've settled back into our regular routine. Another week of school, with the excitement being that Clara and the Wilderness Year 6 and 7 band went to Westminster School for a competition, and came in second behind St. Peter's Boys. This was a pretty good showing considering that the band usually only gets together once a week for practices. Towards the end of the week, Lucy started coming down with something, so she stayed home of Friday. Anj graciously volunteered to take Clara to chess with Katarina and Zof, and then to bring both Clara and Kimba to our house for a sleepover Friday night.

Unfortunately, Clara had a bit of an accident during basketball on Friday, and fell down on her left arm. The school nurse thought it was sprained, and put ice on it. We wrapped it in an ace bandage when she got home, and hoped it would be better in the morning. However, it continued to bother Clara over Saturday, so Sunday am Clara went to see a doctor (in fact, she went to the clinic where our landlord works, and saw him!) He immediately diagnosed a green stick fracture, and sent her to a nearby private hospital for x-ray and a temporary cast. This was enough to keep Clara going - and so she and Lucy headed off to Miranda and Isobel's house, where the four girls had a good time playing with their American Girl dolls (both Isobel and Miranda had acquired one on their recent trip to the States). The girls also found some time over the weekend for drawings, here's Cat Fish by Lucy and here's Mice on the Moon by Clara.

Monday am, Clara went in to the pediatric orthopedics specialist, and got a smaller, brighter (blue) and waterproof cast - so she can still swim and shower until it comes off in perhaps three weeks. However, while she may still be able to play saxophone, violin is probably out for a while.

Thursday was assembly, and Clara was chosen to be on the Library committee. Afterwards, all the parents and girls gathered around the lawn for pictures, then Sandy and some of the other mums headed off to Cibo's for coffee, while Tim headed off to work. Friday was chess again for Clara, and then some excitement for the girls, since they were going to have Kate (one of the Wildy Year 11 girls they really like) as a babysitter while Sandy and Tim went to Mary's and Peter's house for a Year 3 parents' get-together. And while we were there, their daughter (and Clara's friend) Miranda broke her arm! Fortunately, Pete is a doctor, so he could put a temporary cast on, and she'll go in for her waterproof cast (like Clara's) on Monday. Saturday evening, we went over to our old neighborhood to visit Shane, Katrina, William and Francesca for dinner. They prepared a delicous beef and Yorkshire pudding dinner for us. We had a lovely evening and the girls had a good play with William and Francesca.

Monday started a busy week. This is the annual Book Week again, and it started off with Author Day. As a member of the library committee, Clara and two other girls greeted author Josie Montano (author of about a dozen children's books) when she arrived at Wilderness on Monday morning to launch her new book, Cross-Eyed Jack. Clara was thrilled to have her book signed by the author as well. Clara, Lucy, and all the girls in the junior school got to meet and talk with Josie during the day and enjoyed hearing about her life as an author and her childhood. Soccer practice that afternoon was rained out, which is just as well, since Clara needed to work on her Book Week costume. She's going as Captain Katherine Janeway of Star Trek Voyager. Lucy is going as Gherkintrude, from The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotsen. There is also a "Colonial Day" this week, where the girls dress up as colonial settlers. Tuesday brought picture day - where the girls involved in various activities (band, soccer, etc.) get their pictures taken in appropriate dress and groups - so the Year 6 girls were running all over during the day, and not really accomplishing much except pictures! Wednesday was Colonial Day, and Clara dressed up as "Mary" (the name was inspired by Laura Ingalls Wilder's sister; Allanah dressed up as Laura). The girls had a special teacher for the day, and learned how to write with an old-fashioned pen dipped in ink, using paper very sparingly; they had a spelling test using representative words (Clara got 18 out of 24 right, the same score as the best of the Year 10s - two other Year 6s did even better, getting 20 out of 24!) Clara got a 1951 Australian penny for her penmanship work (pennies or two cent pieces are no longer used in Australian currency, so receiving one of these old coins was a very special prize for Clara and she was beaming after school that day!) Thursday brought the big Book Character Parade, with Lucy as Gherkintrude (notice the real beetroot on her hat!) and Clara as Captain Katherine Janeway (of the Star Trek Voyager series she's taken a fancy to.)

Plus, we've added a few pictures of Lucy's birthday to the Oz pictures page (scroll down to the bottom for the new ones).

August 26 - September 14, 2005 - Queensland!: The trips are coming fast and furious - we haven't finished the Yorke Peninsula trip pages, and here we are just back from another holiday - this time a week in Far North (aka Tropical) Queenland - home of the Great Barrier Reef, giant insects, rainforests, and many other amazing things. As usual, we've started a set of trip pages - a very rough first draft of the text here and a few pictures here.

Monday was back to school after a week away, meaning lots of homework for both girls. Clara also had her last soccer match of the term, and got her cast off to boot. Wednesday night was the speech and drama festivities at the school - neither Clara or Lucy take speech or drama, but both wanted to go anyway to see their friends - unfortunately, it was too late a night for Lucy, so she had to stay home with Tim, much to her disappointment! Thursday was assembly, and Lucy's class presented their item - a combination of mini debate speeches and examples of the Aboriginal dot art paintings they have been making. Friday night was movie night for Year 3 (with several Year 6 girls going along, since several families besides ours have girls in both years) - so Sandy and the girls went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and then stopped across the street for pizza with many of the other parents and girls. Saturday evening Clara went to Nicole's birthday party - the dress theme was "Cool School Clothes" - the idea being to dress up in the sort of school uniform you'd like to see.

Lots going on in the world of sport in Australia - the AFL (Footy) season is into the finals, and both Adelaide teams, after rocky starts, came into the weekend with a chance. The Crows have been doing well all season, whereas Port (last season's Premieres) have had a rocky season, only just managing to make it into the top 8 for the playoffs. This weekend was the last big semi-final showdown between them - whoever loses is out. We invited Craig and Rosemary over for a barbie (some American-style salmon using Tom Douglas's special seasonings which Tim brought back from Seattle on his last trip) and to watch the showdown. Unfortunately, the game turned into a blowout, with Port losing by the largest margin ever.

And then there's the Ashes - Cricket's oldest international match. This match between England and Australia began in 1876 - and England had never lost on their home grounds. However, in 1882, England was shocked to lose to Australia. So shocked, in fact, that the Sporting Times front page carried an obituary for English cricket the morning after:

In Affectionate Remembrance
E N G L I S H C R I C K E T,
which died at the Oval
29th A U G U S T, 1882,
Deeply lamented by a large circle of sorrowing friends and acquaintances
N.B. - The body will be cremated and the ashes taken to Australia.
The following season, England went to Australia, and managed to beat the Australians on THEIR home ground - and Captain Bligh (Ivo, not William!) made reference to the "ashes" in one of his public talks - so the locals burned a wicket and presented the English captain with an urn containing "The Ashes" - and the contest had a trophy which represents the most hotly contested cricket match in the world - at least as far as England and Australia are concerned! Today, the Ashes are a series of 5 matches, each of which is 5 days in length, played at different grounds in the host country. This year, England is the host country. However, the English have fallen on hard times of late, and have lost the last 16 Ashes! So it was with great amazement and excitement (and disbelief in Australia) that the cricketing world watched them win this year - they have won two matches and lost one, plus two draws - Australia had a chance to retain the Ashes (actually, to retain the title to the Ashes; the actual Ashes never leaves England) right up until last night - but they couldn't pull it out.

On Sunday afternoon Clara and Lucy went to visit Allanah and Jessica who have just moved to a different house (and fortunately now live much closer to us). Clara and Allanah spent the afternoon working together on a model of the Bastille prison made from leftover moving cartons and finalizing their costumes as King Louis and Marie Antoinette. Meanwhile, Lucy and Jessica roamed outside exploring their new yard and garden, collecting flowers and making "perfume" for Marie Antoinette to use at her presentation at school this week.

Tuesday night we all went to Christ Church in North Adelaide, to watch the annual Wilderness Junior School Choir Concert - it was very nice, and had a rousing finish when all the girls in Years 3-6 sang "Joy to the World" together (as Lucy was at some pains to point out, this was NOT the Christmas song; she and Clara were quite amazed that Tim and Sandy actually knew the song, and Tim whistled it all the way home - they didn't realize it was quite that old! Clara said she wants to find the email address for Three Dog Night and let them know that a bunch of school girls from a private school in Australia sang their rock song in a church last night!)

Wednesday morning the girls had their regular house meetings at the start of the school day, and the current project is knitting. The Year 6 girls have been learning to knit for the past several weeks so that they can now teach the younger girls. The goal is for all the girls to knit squares that will be joined together in a blanket for the Mary Magdalene Shelter here in Adelaide. Clara gave Lucy a lesson the afternoon before, so Lucy was a step ahead. They are both so enthusiastic--and they think it is really fun because Sandy doesn't know a thing about knitting!!

September 15-October 3, 2005 - End of Term: Another term is over - the time is flying! Tim has been off for another two weeks in the States on a business trip, and was very glad to return to a three day weekend for recovery. While he was gone, the girls were quite busy finishing up the third term of the school year.

Saturday morning, Tim took off for the States, while Sandy and the girls worked on household tasks, music practice, etc. That afternoon, Lucy had Giorgia over to play, and they spent much of the afternoon outside enjoying some spring sunshine. For "afternoon tea," Clara helped make some cinnamon muffins. Sunday was a special outing for Clara with another beautiful, but breezy day. Clara went with Katarina and her dad Pete, along with a couple of other school friends, for a bike ride towards Henley Beach along the Torrens, about 12.5 km in all. Sandy and Lucy stayed at home making lots of sandwiches of various types while Anj made fondue and lots of fresh fruit. Then the mums all drove to Henley Beach and had coffee while waiting for the bike riders to arrive. It seemed like the riders were a bit later than expected, but it wasn't the wind slowing them down. They had stopped at two different playgrounds along the way, so considering that, they had made really good time! Then we loaded up the bikes and the tired girls and went to Pete and Anj's house for lunch. The girls were all so ravenous that they devoured the sandwiches in a flash and then ate quite a lot of fondue and fruit as well.

Monday brought the Commonwealth Junior Games that Clara had wanted to participate in - but couldn't because of her still-healing brken Arm. Sandy anticipated that Clara would be quite unhappy about missing them (as she had been leading up to it) and grumpy when she came home from school - but it turned out that quite a few of her friends didn't go either, so her mood was pretty good. When Sandy asked if Clara was going to forgive her or whether she was going to hate her for the rest of her life for not letting her go, Clara just grinned and said, "I'll have to think about that..." That same day Lucy was supposed to go on an excursion to the Botanical Gardens and the museum as well, but there was quite a bit of rain, so they only went to the museum.

Wednesday brought warmer weather, with a forecast top of 26 degrees, so that meant the girls could wear their summer uniforms, and they were delighted about that. Clara also had as part of her homework to prepare a Chinese dish for school to share, so after school, Clara and Sandy worked on that, while Lucy continued her knitting "homework." Unfortunately, the knitting didn't go well, and soon Sandy heard Lucy crying upstairs. After the longest time and countless tears and tissues, Lucy told Sandy she was upset because her knitting had some holes and was "wonky." She eventually cheered up, and after dinner she and Sandy finished the eyes on her cat (on the tea towel Sandy is helping her and all the girls in her class make). Sandy has been giving each girl a sticker to wear to class after they finish their towel, so Lucy picked one out to wear to school the next day, and was quite pleased.

The rest of the week passed uneventfully, and Saturday brought the usual day of practice, plus a birthday party (Katerina's) for Clara to attend - and the warning on the invitation was to wear clothes you don't mind getting destroyed! Turns out the party was a painting party and lots of other fun games, so they had a good time. Lucy and Sandy also had a good day, taking Clara to the party, doing a little fabric shopping at the quilt store, etc. Lucy kept commenting on what a good day it was, so she was happy just to be with Sandy on her own. Sandy tried a new recipe for a Mexican Chicken Salad for their supper while they watched the movie "5 Children and It."

Over the weekend Lucy did a lot of sniffling, but Monday she was determined to go to school. Sandy went off for a few hours with the craft ladies, and taught them how to make the napkin holders she had made for the fair. Three ladies (Jill, Monique, and Cheryl) each made a napkin holder and managed to finish it completely, and were quite happy with the results. The rest of the week went pretty quickly. Thursday was Junior School assembly, and Lucy played the walking-in music again. Friday was the last day of the term - and it was casual clothes day, so the girls got to choose what to wear (Lucy was actually quite excited to come home on Thursday and declare that she'd never have to wear her winter uniform again!) Friday, there was also an all-school assembly, and Clara received a High Distinction award in Mathematics - this was from an Australia-wide math test that all the Year 4 and 6 girls take. The girls were quite excited to find Tim waiting for them at school, with Lucy running all the way from the gym up to her classroom in the hopes he would be there - arriving quite out of breath! Then it was home for homemade pizza and a movie ("Sahara" - a movie in similar vein to Indiana Jones, which the girls quite liked.)

The rest of the weekend passed quietly - a little music practice, bike ride, teaching the girls to play Risk, composing some music on the computer - and of course lots of drawing. We did at least manage to get the Yorke Peninsula trip pages pretty well finished over this long Labour Day Weekend - text here and pictures here. Now we just need to get back to the Queensland pages, which are still in very raw draft form (text here and a few pictures here).

October 4-16, 2005 - School break: The girls have been enjoying their time off, but still managing to keep up with their music practice and their social calendar. Wednesday evening we had James, Anna and Lucy (Clara's classmate) over for dinner and to talk about their upcoming trip to the States. Lucy stayed the night for a sleepover with Clara. Then, in the following afternoon, Allanah and Jessica arrived for a sleepover. And on Friday, Tim and Sandy had a rare babysitter (Kate, a Year 12 Wildy girl whom the girls adore), so they could go out for dinner and a movie. Saturday brought a Scotch tasting hosted by Tim for the usual crowd. Sunday and Monday were quiet days, followed by a Tuesday visit to Giorgia's house for Lucy, and a visit by Larissa to spend the day with Clara.

Tim decided to take Wednesday off, so we could have at least one family outting during the holidays. We decided to stay close to home, and visit one of the reserves/parks that had been on our list for a while. So we packed a picnic lunch and headed for Morialta Conservation Park, just 12 or so kilometers east of us in the Adelaide Hills. The park starts at the beginning of the hills, and then follows Fourth Creek up a valley into the hills. Along the way are three waterfalls at successively higher elevations. Since there have been some good rains this month, everything was quite green (by South Australian standards), and the waterfalls were lovely. We spent a couple hours covering several up-and-down kilometers, and visiting both First and Second Waterfalls, before heading down to the picnic area to grill our lunch - as always, we greatly appreciate that standard Aussie feature of electric grills in the parks! We had a good day, and took so many pictures that we decided to make a separate picture page just for this park trip.

Thursday, Julia and her mother, Kay, came over to visit Lucy, and, along with Clara and Sandy, they spent a good chunk of the day using up most of our remaining tie dye supplies - dying shirts, pillow-cases, a hat, etc., in a variety of colors and patterns. Friday, Clara and Lucy were off to Allanah's and Jessica's again, where they spent most of their time playing outdoors enjoying the continuing beautiful spring weather. Friday night was "pizza and a movie" night, with the girls helping to make the pizza. Saturday was a quiet day, catching up on things around the house; on Sunday, we met Craig and Rosemary at Tusmore Park (in Burnside, in the southeast of the city) for a lovely picnic lunch (as usual, we also enjoyed the wonderful birdlife in Adelaide's parks - here and here are a couple photos we got of some Musk Lorikeets gathering nesting material.)

Now that even the "minor" leagues have finished up in footy, the sports world attention has turned to cricket. After all the excitement of the Ashes, the cricket world focus has shifted from northern hemisphere summer activities to the southern hemisphere. First up was a set of 3 one day Test matches pitting Australia against "The World 11" in Melbourne. The World 11 are essentially an All Star team made up of non-Australian players. The Aussies swept the series 3 for 3, without any problems. On Friday, the latest event started - this is a 6 Day "Super Test" to be held in Sydney. While going into it, the Aussies were publicly worrying about their chances, but the first couple of days haven't presented any difficulties for the boys from Down Under.

And no, we STILL haven't come close to finishing the Queensland pages - although we did add more pictures here at least.

October 17-24, 2005 - Back to School: The girls headed back to school this week. After the relaxing holiday break, the heavy homework load seemed to hit Clara hard the first couple of days, but she made it through the whole week, but still had lots of work to do on the weekend. Although there were no major events during the week, we can already feel the buildup for all the usual Term Four events - instrument concerts, school camps, Christmas concert, Sports Day, Solar Boat Race, etc. This has seemed to be an extremely wet spring, although the weather folks say we are only just getting up to the "average" expected rainfall - perhaps that just means that the last three years have been below average (our first spring here WAS pretty wet - or maybe it just seemed so since we were moving in and trying to get settled.) Saturday was predicted to be the only dry day for a while, so we decided to visit another of Adelaide's parks - this one the Wittunga Botanic Gardens, which features native plants from around Australia, as well as some from other countries, notably South Africa. Spring is supposed to be the best time to view the garden, and we weren't disappointed, with many flowers, bushes and trees in bloom, lots of birds (including some babies in nests), and even some curious turtles. We once again took enough pictures to justify a separate picture page here.

In the sporting world, the Aussies had no trouble putting away the World 11 in cricket - in spite of their worst batting collapse in a home Test match since 1888 (!!) - they lost their last 9 wickets for just 47 (for the record, they went 8 for 40 in 1888.) Hot on the heels of this cricket Test match, was the first International Rules Test of the season - this is a variation on Australian Rules Football, with a few more soccer-type attributes, plus a few more rules (or at least there seemed to be more calls by the refs, and more attention paid to the out-of-bounds lines.) In this case, the young Australian team seemed to click extremely well together - especially so for an "all-star" team which doesn't play together year round, and they had no trouble with the Irish - who have, in the recent past, been quite dominant. In fact, Australia beat their own previous record of points in a game, as well as the recording the highest-ever score - beating the former Irish record of 84 by 16 points.

Even after four years here, Aussie slang still occasionally catches us off guard or strikes our funny bone - a case in point was a TV show that aired this past week - "8.30 pm: 20 TO 1: SPECTACULAR DUMMY SPITS". This is not what it might seem, as in Australian, to "spit the dummy" is to throw a fit or tantrum or blow up. In this case, the attraction was apparently that these were famous people "spitting the dummy" in public.

Monday continued off and on rain, but both the Year 3 and 6 classes managed to find dry spells to walk down to the parklands for tryouts for the upcoming Sports Day. Lucy was quite pleased to turn in the fastest Year 3 time of 11.96 seconds for the 60 metre dash (yes, 60, not 50 for some reason.) Clara had her first softball practice of the season after school - the girls are showing more skill with bat, ball and glove this year - at least in between socializing!

And although we did get a few more pictures up on the Queensland page (see here), we still aren't done. Close, though...

October 25-November 7, 2005 - Time for camp: Excitement continued to grow, as camp drew closer for both girls. Wednesday brought Clara's first softball game, against St. Andrews. The Wildy girls won, 8 to 6. Tim attended the second Annual General Meeting of the Malt Whisky Society of Australia on Thursday night - the MWSoA has turned into quite a quite a successful operation since that first meeting back in 2002 when 6 guys (including Tim) got together to discuss starting a national organization. Since then, the society has held two national conventions, two national whisky judgings, and several smaller events, and has developed a good reputation both among whisky fans and the whisky trade.

The weekend was filled with the usual homework (among other things, Clara had to write a paper on the effectiveness of Chinese herbal medicine - she had to take a position for or against, then provide evidence and arguments supporting her position.) Plus there was violin, piano and saxophone practice, and preparation for camp (both girls are going off on camps this week! Lucy and the Year Three girls are heading to Warrawong Wildlife Sanctuary, as Clara did back in Year 3; Clara and the Year Six girls are heading back to the Douglas Scrub for a three day camp.)

Lucy was just bouncing off the walls with excitement all weekend, waiting for her first school camp - finally, Monday arrived, and Sandy saw her and the rest of the Year 3 girls off on the bus to Warrawong at 9:00 Monday morning. It was quite unusual for Clara to be the youngest girl in the house Monday night. Tuesday brought Lucy back - she had a great time. In fact, she said, "I'd love to go back to Warrawong and stay for a week!" She took over a 100 pictures (!!) and wrote several poems about some of the animals she had seen, but she was also very tired and went to bed early. Wednesday it was Clara's turn to leave on the bus, heading back to the Maclaren Vale and the Douglas Scrub - although she was quite excited about this second camping trip of the year, she was much more matter-of-fact about it on the day - guess it was becoming old hat to her.

Wednesday and Thursday passed quickly, and the evenings quieter than usual (we played Scrabble with Lucy both nights, then she went to bed - early by Clara's standards!), so it almost seemed like we were on our own those evenings. Friday Sandy did some sewing with a couple of girls in Lucy's class and then spent the day at the annual quilt and craft fair at the Adelaide Show Grounds. Once again, she was blown away by some of the quilts made by local South Australian quilters. That afternoon, Tim and Sandy met at the school to pickup Clara. First thing we noticed as the girls piled out of the bus was her teacher carrying a brown snake in a glass jar - but it turns out that one of the girls had brought it as her "natural treasure" to share, and it was not one caught on the campground! (Clara brought a crab claw for her treasure. Here is a picture of another critter Clara found at camp.) Then appeared Clara, looking tired but happy. By all reports, she enjoyed this substantially more than the Earthkeepers camp (this was a SunShip camp) - and she also brought home a lot more awareness of the uses of energy in our daily lives, and how easy it is to waste energy when we're not thinking. Since she had to "pay" with Solar Credits (they gave each girl a "checkbook" at the start of camp, with a fixed balance) for each energy-using thing - from tissues to cameras to showers to toilet flushing (some things, like the toilet flushing were mandatory charges against their balances), she had to make choices about what she would and would not do.

Saturday morning brought another hot day (and hot is still relative - it only got into the low 30s - which is ten degrees less than the maximums we can expect after Christmas!) in between the continuing on and off rain - however, the average temperatures are clearly trending upwards towards summer - and now all the rain is fueling concerns about the brushfire potential that all the extra growth will provide once it dries out. The girls are starting up swimming lessons again, so they both headed off to the Payneham pool. They had a good time, but later in the day it became clear Clara was coming down with something, and Tim was feeling a little under the weather as well, so he and the girls took the rest of the weekend easy - Sandy, however, went like a house afire on her quilting projects, finishing up two, and nearly finishing a third. Since they're all presents, no more details for now.

The bottle brushes have been blooming in brilliant red for the past several weeks, the golden-orange gums are flowering, and the first hints of purple on the Jacarandas suggest that spring is really here - in spite of the continuing rain (and thunderstorms) over the last couple of days. And we finally finished getting mnost of the pictures up on the Queensland picture page (see here); getting them integrated into the text page (and finishing the text) will take a while longer.

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