Thursday, 27 January 2011

Cyclone Bianca

Happy Australia Day! Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

26 January - Australia day. Our first, so we ventured out to see what the locals get up to.
After a bit of a lie in (thanks boys), we went to our local park at Perry Lakes for a sausage sizzle (it started at 8am but luckily the snags were still sizzling at 9.30) There were other activities like camel riding and a children's farm, and new citizens were being sworn in. Some old guys in 18th century uniforms scared the bejesus out of everyone by letting off a volley of musket fire, with no warning. The boys didn't like the gunshots much. In fact, they only liked the bouncy castle in the shape of Captain Cook's Endeavour, and seemed somewhat intrigued by the sheep shearing. In the afternoon we went to Kings Park so we 'd be early enough to find a car parking space before the fireworks display over the Swan River. There was a designated picnic area for people with alcohol. A limit of 6 beers or a bottle of wine per person was set to discourage too much drinking :)
We sat on the lawn with a view of the city and the river. Planes were doing aerobatics and a huge flag was lifted up above the river by a helicopter. It was very busy with lots of people with Aussie flags and t-shirts. We borrowed UNO from the people next to us to keep the boys busy. At 8pm the fire works began, shooting skyward from barges in the middle of the river and from the tops of the city skyscrapers. Beautiful colours, but too many loud bangs for Willem's liking so we had to leave early. 3 hours waiting for a 10 minute display - oh well!

Monday, 24 January 2011

Cat Power and more

Last night was the first night they both slept through. Frank in our bed, but it's already a huge improvement from the nights before. Hopefully we've turned a corner.
It was really nice, when I put my Ozzie sim card back in the phone, to have quite a few messages from people here to say they're happy I'm back and if I wanted to meet up.
So yesterday I met Katja and the girls. We had a cup of tea on the veranda and then went to check out the new place right on City Beach. There used to be a posh sea food restaurant called Oceanus. It had such bad reviews we never went there. Now it's a new Clancy's Fish pub! Real trendy, good food, white beer, lovely views over the beach and soon they will have an out door terrace, live music and maybe even a pub quiz! Looks like that's going to be our local! Also Floreat Kiosk, the beach next door, is now open on some evenings with food, a liquor license and live music. City Beach suburb is improving rapidly!

Last night we met Sue and Gareth for a concert in the Quarry. What a fantastic venue. Really, the best for a concert. A quarry amphitheatre is a perfect setting for music, ballet etc. And you look out over the city too. The music wasn't the best. Jamie found her, Cat Power, rather pretentious and lazy and I agree. The other musicians had no chance, never even played a single solo. It was just her breathy voice. Some songs reminded me a little bit Heather Nova but a lot less melodious and there were no up tempo songs at all. Still.. sipping a glass of wine under the stars...can think of worse things to do. It was also nice to catch up with Sue and Gareth.

Bought tickets for Train. They play in Kings Park (with INXS) in an event called: an evening on the green. Tim Minchin is coming too and I'd love to see him but not sure I can find anyone to join me. It's also the day Jamie's Mum arrives.

We're also trying to plan our next holiday to New Zealand's North island. If it all works out we'll meet my brother, Shonda and my parents there in April and we'll visit Sydney (and Jamie's brother and sister who live there) on the way!

This afternoon we're going to see Marloes and have a swim in her pool.
The weather was cloudy the last couple of days but today it's lovely and sunny again. Tomorrow is Australia day and Jamie will have the day off.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Jet lag

Pfffffffffffffffffffff. Boys went to bed at 9.45 pm last night and I went to bed at midnight. At 1.45 Willem appeared at my bedside, upset. Took him downstairs and decided to sleep in his room in the bottom bunk, as he felt confused. About 20 minutes later I hear Frank walking down the corridor. I called him. He was also upset and he said he had enough sleep. Told him to get into the bed with me and try to sleep a bit more. 2 hours later and we were all still awake. Told them to get up, so at 4 am we were all having milk and toast and watching Thomas the Tank engine. At 5 I was soo tired I tried to get them back into bed but it was getting light so I decided not to bother. At 6 I asked them to wake up Jamie and at 7.30 we were at Cottesloe beach where my friend Tamar also just arrived with two of her daughters (early birds in Australia!) It was really nice to catch up and the boys loved playing on the beach with Carmen and Thirza. Was really cute actually. Thirza had really really missed Frank and shouted from far: Daar is Frank, Frank is my friend! Big cuddles and happy kids! Carmen and Willem have known each other from birth and get on really well, sharing the body board and playing hide and seek. We got home just after 11am and Frank was fast asleep. I also had an afternoon snooze. Willem was determined to stay awake and he managed till 7.15 pm!! That's 17 and a half hours being awake after only 4 hours sleep! Let's see how this night goes...
Now enjoying a G&T with Jamie..

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Home again...

Gosh, a month later now. Lots has happened! We had a fabulous break in Europe. It started with a 10 hr delay in Kuala Lumpur. There was so much snow in London and Amsterdam it caused chaos in airports all over the world. It wasn't too bad. We could go to a hotel, an hours drive from the airport called: Palace of Golden Horses. By the time we checked in it was past 1am and the wake up call came at 4.30, but hey... we had a bed and we got fed! Asian/cosmopolitan style breakfast buffet which meant you could eat anything from chilli noodle soup, nasi  to eggs with chicken sausages, yoghurts, fruit etc. The rest of the journey went fine. Guess the last bit was the most hazardous: driving back from Roosendaal in foggy/icy conditions, but my mum did very well and we made it! My brother arrived the next day without any problems from San Fransisco so we spent the next couple of days together planning for Christmas. It involved decorating a tree, building an igloo and a snowman (never seen so much snow in Vlissingen, even the beaches were covered!), some snowball fights (Willem's favourite) and a couple of lovely walks on the beach, dunes, woods. Christmas was lovely. Turkey with all the trimmings and some TV and games. On the 27th we drove in my mums car to England. Very busy on the M25 but driving in a traffic jam is not so bad when you drive an automatic..(says Jamie). It was great to see Jamie's sisters and family again and we had a good time, despite the fog. Lots of food, drink and muddy walks. And then it was 2011! Jamie and Maarten had to go back home on the 3rd so my mum and I drove them to Schiphol. I spent another couple of weeks in the Netherlands. We didn't see much of the sun, in fact it rained an awful lot, but it was still good to see (nearly) all my friends. Not enough though, saw most of them only once.. but still a brief catch up is better than nothing. Went to Utrecht for a weekend to meet up with a high school friend and friends from Oman which was lovely. A daytrip to Amsterdam,  A daytrip to Arnhem to see friends of my mum who are getting rather old now and a daytrip to Antwerp for some shopping and a good meal ( shrimp croquettes, you can't beat them!). A great relaxing time. I just love being at home with my parents.. The boys love it too. A very smooth flight home. The boys are wee stars! Only difficult bit was the landing in Kuala Lumpur. Willem and Frank both woke up with motion sickness. KLM air hostesses weren't particularly helpful and it wasn't easy juggling with sick bags between the two of them but I am happy they can aim very well :). Bought some medicine at KL so it won't happen again!  So now acclimatise. It's lovely and warm here. Willem had trouble last night falling asleep (which was normal bed time in the Netherlands, very early in the morning here) Guess he was just too excited. We all woke up rather dopey around 12 noon. It'll take a couple of days...