Friday, April 24, 2009


There are only 5 days of school holidays left and I'm feeling guilty taking more time out to blog.

Yesterday, with sun shining brightly, we took down the streamers and balloons from Little Tree's birthday party. We'd left them up for a week which given the dull grey rainy days has given the house a cheery feel. I tied all the balloons together to make a giant colourful grape bunch. He's been having a lovely time running with them trailing behind bumping into the wind chimes on the verandah, needless to say some of the balloons have since burst - much to his amusement.
His favourite presents were, no prizes for guessing, Thomas the Tank Engine track and Bill and Ben engines to add to his already extensive collection. His next favourite present was a book called "My cat likes to hide in boxes" because "The cat from Brazil caught a very bad chill" which apparently is absolutely hilarious which in turn has us laughing which has him laughing and we end up with tears on our faces and aching tummies.

There is no point trying to have the kind of party for him that I once imagined we might. One with friends and fairy bread, party games and singing happy birthday. He would just run away screaming and shut himself in his room. He let us sing happy birthday for the first time on his 8th birthday ( I was so happy I nearly crushed him with a hug) so this year there were no problems and even a big smile.
Grandma and Grandad came as well and Auntie S Uncle A and their 3 girls, exchange student Poy and Mr I's Uncle David and Aunt Maggie. Little Tree coped very well with the influx of people (especially since he knows them all very well) and since everyone was happy to comply with instructions not to touch his track he was very happy.
Being unconcerned with convention, he was loud in stating he was tired and wanted to go to bed (earlier than usual) - before the candles had been lit, song sung and cake cut. Not wanting to risk a quick descent into sensory overload meltdown, I chose to leave my partially eaten dinner to bring out cake with candles lit and coax him into the midst of birthday guests to blow out candles with as much spit as puff - oh well!!! The chocolate birthday cake was enjoyed immensely, evidence of which was smothered all over his face!!!!
Then it was bath, story and sleep...come on, sleep... please, just close your eyes - that's it.....(door slams) bugger! Breathe. Everyone left soon after Little Tree went to bed and the washing up and generally cleaning up had been done - bless them. So with a quiet house he did finally drop off to sleep and I could reheat my meal and enjoy birthday cake, undisturbed. mmmmm lovely.
We might do something quieter next year - a picnic perhaps.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Dolls, Clocks and Painty Mess

Two blogs have recently prompted me to get in touch with my creative and artisitic side. Lorell makes the most gorgeous dolls straight from the pages of fairy stories. Rima is a nomad travelling around UK in a converted horse box and paints the most exquisite images.

Autumn always turns my focus inward. Instead of wanting to be outside adventuring and socialising I feel more like staying at home and being creative whether that's cooking, spinning, knitting, felting, painting or gardening.

So the other day, during a brief respite from the rain, Little Tree and I went into town to visit one of our favourite shops, Soul Weaving. It has everything a Steiner child could want including watercolour paints and quality paper and brushes. I haven't painted with watercolours since I was a child so it's going to be interesting to see what happens. I don't suppose I'll be happy enough with the results to post them here, then again I might just surprise myself. So far all I've done is started to sketch the picture I want and to experiment with washes and effects - but already I can see that this is going to be a lot of fun.
Gosh, as I write this, the sun is trying to peek out from behind the clouds for the first time in days - woooohooo!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Tickle Tank

Or - Tickle me pink, it's a tank house!
I'm in awe of the creativity of Irene, who turned a concrete water tank in a horse paddock into an amazing home and garden. When I eventually have a home that belongs to me and not someone else, I hope that I can be as creative as this. Here is a link to the ABC's Gardening Australia episode that features this remarkable home.
Next time I visit South Australia, I plan to visit while it is open to the public - armed with camera.

Water, Mud and Moods

Well, it's raining again, or should that be - still.

We had a flood in February, which the media made a huge fuss over and a "one in one hundred year" flood a couple of weeks ago (see left) which was much more deserving of the media attention. I know this sounds terribly cynical but the only reason I can think that the first flood received such attention is that at the time bushfires were ravaging Victoria and Queensland was having floods so of course, not to be outdone, NSW had to come up with something equally newsworthy. (sigh)

Although our house was safe, we were cut off from everywhere. Little Tree had to stay home from school for three days as the bus couldn't get though, which pleased him no end. The river came up so fast and stayed up longer than I've ever known it and the creek below our house came to within 2 feet of the garden. Mr I arrived home three and half hours late having driven the long way home in order to find a semi passable road - lucky he wasn't later or he would have had to return to the office and slept there!!!

This is why he couldn't get home....


We were without power for 24 hours - the house was so peaceful and quiet without the hum of electrical appliances and I couldn't help but smile surrounded by lantern and candlelight. Having lived in this area for little while now, we are used to having to rely on our gas camping stove for cups of tea and cooking etc. when there's no power due to storm/flood/fruit bat tangled in wires.
We lost mobile phone reception for a while too - lucky the landline still worked. Mr I, being Manager of a local communtiy service organisation received a call from one of our Councillors to check on a constituent's 90 year old Mum, so we put together a thermos for her and Mr I drove out there and was able to report back that mum was doing fine. There were lots of other stories of strangers going out of their way to help others - pity it needs a disaster to bring the community together. When we could get into town our little supermarket was running out of food - a lot had to be thrown out due to the power cut and the all the roads further out were still cut so no deliveries could be made.

The Pacific Highway was high and dry but access roads from here to our town not so lucky.

In other times it would have been quite exciting but I wasn't able to convey the problem of no power and my inability to fix it to my autistic son who was getting very distressed that he couldn't play his favourite DVDs or the computer. And during the night we had to get up to make sure a tealight candle was still burning in his room in place of his nightlight. So, it was with huge relief to have power restored and consequently a return to a happy boy.

A number of fences, roads and bridges in the area are still washed out. And drowned livestock, boats and other debris are being cleaned off the beaches. And it's still raining...

(photos courtesy of Bellingen Courier Sun)