Thursday, November 1, 2012

Photo of the month

At Grandpa's farm; just after the madness set in.

I really like this photo.

It has two of my favourite people.

It captures Australian light really well.

It also captures something of both people. JMB

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are.

I'm a city girl.

I appreciate a good pavement. I am fairly comfortable with neighbours, proximity to people. I don't despise a lawn or the odd tree and quite like flowers growing in the garden, but I don't go weak at the knees at the propsect of spending all day outside surrounded by 'nature'. I quite like inside. Nature, I feel, has issues.

So I feel a little out of place here. May through to September was idyllic and really enjoyable. But then September came and the little respite from the heat that Brisbane experiences was over. And out came all the animals.

And in Australia the animals tend to be lethal. They might look cuddly, but any animal that actually manages to survive here is at the very least hardy, if not adopting the view that it's best to kill outright on sight any perceived threat. But not all animals are life threatening.

For example: South-east Queensland is home to approximately 27 snake species, but only 13 are regarded as medically significant.

So speak the wise ones of I hope you feel the relief that I did upon learning that less than half of the snakes in our area are 'medically significant'. 

Similiarly, not all the ticks in our area will actually kill you. Some of them will, of course, but not all. Seed or grass ticks, for example, won't do you fatal damage. They may give you the controversial 'lime disease' depending on who you speak to. And they will leave a scar for months, as they have to our 2yo's back, but they won't kill you. At least one won't. Many? Probably.
Me with my little country boy

We've had six ticks so far, not counting the near fatal tick attack on the dog. And one snake, a 'harmless' carpet snake that the snake catcher wouldn't remove because '... you want it around.' No, really. I don't. It's a snake. 

I think I've morphed. I can no longer claim to be a simple city girl. I own two pairs of tweezers, numerous pressure bandages and a special cream that kills ticks. I insist that the boys wear closed in shoes when they dash around outside. I know that you can kill ticks you suspect might be in your clothes by putting them in the dryer for 20 minutes on 'high'. I have found and killed six ticks, not counting the three I removed from the dog. I have the number for the snake catcher for our area on speed dial on my phone. I do a tick check on our boys every night and I know the places to look.

All this bush lore is burdensome.

All you have to worry about in the city is the people who might kill you. Or take your money or something. JMB

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

It's a Dog's Life

That's a special present just for Mark, who will enjoy that pun far more than is healthy.

Yes, we have a dog.

He's my brother's dog via my nephew, so he has a long and complicated ownership background and even now, I'm not entirely sure whose dog he is exactly. But he lives with us, and barks at things.

He freaks out the resident bush turkey and peacock, but doesn't seem inclined to actually cause them anything other than psychological harm. (I can live with that).  He also barks incessantly at any visitors, especially large males. (I can live with that as well).

He escapes every day and goes who-knows-where but usually finishes up with a nice dip in the dam (I know that because he comes home muddy). This doesn't help his tick problem which is now, by virtue of his proximity to us, our tick problem also. And tick problems are expensive problems to have. (Not so easy to live with that).

He and the boys get on quite well, though he takes a middle-aged approach to their madness and goes off to sit with his bone and quietly contemplate whatever it is that dogs contemplate.

We like him. His name is Ferdie. JMB

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our Place

Our house is awesome.
We can't quite believe we live here.
This is the view looking out the front window...
 across the back...

down the side...

And these fellows come and visit every day...

and this little chap sits proprietarily on the washing line every morning, just to make sure things are as they should be.

We really like this house. JMB

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Our 2yo has good fine motor skills. This is partly because he loves to know how things work and spends ages experimenting with putting things into things and pulling things apart. And partly because he adores trains of any sort and building train tracks requires fine motor skills, and so his get a fairly solid workout because he is committed to building track most days of the week.

One night when he decided to stay up until after 9pm, very quietly in his room (we stupidly thought he was asleep because he was quiet!), he decided to play with the almost full jar of sudocrem. He did it meticulously. He lathered the entire tallboy, carefully going around only the edges of each handle. He then 'coloured in' the front of the tall boy, so that it was all symetrical. And finally he did his hands and his feet. Only his hands and his feet, completely.

Here he is, so tired he's almost drunk, with the incriminating evidence.  And not a whisker of an apology anywhere. JMB

Saturday, July 21, 2012


Both our boys like to dig. Other boys throw snowballs when they are in the snow. Ours dig. Other boys build sand castles when they are at the beach. Ours dig. Digging holes, the bigger the better, is a serious occupation. 'Dig' was one of the first words in both their emerging vocabularies.

Which is why I was very keen for us to have a sandpit.

I would have been pretty happy with just about anything, but what we got was the super-deluxe version, designed and built by M's Dad. It sits happily under a tree and is usually occupied from first thing in the morning to sunset, with interruptions for meals, sleep, preschool and other such things.

I really like the sandpit. JMB

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Water, water everywhere...

One of the things our boys are enjoying the most about Australia is the water. It's not just the beaches, though they are very well disposed towards them. It's that it's warm enough to play with water, even in winter.
Here they are deeply engrossed in playing boats in an activity that left them both completely saturated, at the beginning of winter. But it's warm, so it's OK.
2yo is particularly taken with water. In the heavy rain we've been having, I frequently find him either out the front under the broken drain pipe that pours water down from the roof, or under the water tank with a broken pipe that pours water down from the tank. It's like torrential rain just doesn't  cut it. He needs more water; he needs to be completely soaking wet in under a minute. I have also found him more than once, casually bouncing on the trampoline oblivious to the rain.
It does make bath time easy: no reluctance whatever to having a shower!  JMB

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Up From the Whirlpool

Whirpool, rip tide... at the very least 'very strong current' describes the last six months as we moved to Australia, Mark finished the draft of his thesis and started his new job, we moved countries, churches and houses and 4yo started kindergarten.

Most of the time, it's been brilliant. We're more relaxed, healthier, feel more useful and even laugh from time to time. We went to the beach. Our house is awesome (but that will get a post of its own) and creates a context for our boys to run, jump, dig and then run some more. We are enjoying the privelege of renewing and strengthening old friendships. We get to see family more and that's been great as well. Our church rocks and we feel like we can contribute.

There are lots of things we miss about England, particularly the people we knew and loved. And some other things as well. But for us, it is much easier to live in Australia, socially and physically. So we're glad to be back.

Most of the time we are moving too fast to see it all. But we when we glimpse it, we are grateful to God for getting us 'there and back again' in one piece and helping us to be grateful for his many blessings.

Currently I'm avoiding no less than five jobs I have to do, some of them I should have done yesterday and one is held over from last week.  So, I might be blogging a bit more these days.

;) JMB