Monday, May 25, 2015


Giggle-Bear - my brave adventurer. She's still not walking, but man, does she love climbing. She's just managed to get up into the rocking chair and has been practicing 'surfing' on it. She thinks this is hilarious - especially if she's standing up. She also loves scrambling from one chair to the other. Halving already had one climber (and he started later) my heart has sunk... But it is very cute.

The Extravaganza - A friend came up from Victoria and we went on a ferry up at Caloundra, going along the passage between Bribie Island and the mainland. The Extravaganza loved it.

Adventure-Boy - still for a moment while he has some pancakes for breakfast. He's wearing an old jumper of mine as the mornings have been getting chilly. (She says mounrfully. I still miss Victorian seasons. There has been no Autumn here and when I say 'chilly' it is still not cold enough to wear socks during the day.)

Joining with Jodi for a portrait of my little ones once a week, (nearly) every week in 2015.

Sunday, May 17, 2015


Adventure Boy - green remnants of Crazy Hair Day at school, black remnants of his batman mask from face-painting - sand courtesy of the beach at Southbank. Not actually camouflage (intentionally!) but getting close. Concentrating on his sandcastle. He has, obviously, already jumped in the water.

The Extravaganza, tenderly constructing her sandcastle, gathering up treasures people have left behind for its adornment.

Giggle-Bear - playing with her sister's hat. Momentarily pausing in her study on the properties of sand.

Joining with Jodi for a portrait of my little ones most weeks in 2015. (I'll try to catch up on last week soon!) We are still busy unpacking and tinkering with our new house and training our unruly pup. I have no idea where the days are going. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

And the rain came down.

The score of ibis form a large inverted ‘v’ across the grey sky, heading inland over a paddock of brightly green grass and cattle.
“Look kids, look at the birds, aren’t they beautiful,” I point through the rain-splattered window.
Beloved glances over at me. “You’re not a Queenslander.”
“Why? What?” I frown.
“When birds head off like that it’s not a good thing.”
The rain has been falling steadily and is due to continue falling steadily. But it’s not coming down particularly fast or hard, just a set in wet.
“Hmm.” I leave it, but remember his words the next day.
Beloved phones from work. “Are you getting ready to pick up the kids?” I look at the clock.
“A bit early, don’t you think?”
“The rain’s picked up a bit.”
For the first time in awhile I look out of the window. I’ve been pottering, unpacking all the myriad of boxes, re-discovering favourite books. Hugging my baby close as it’s her first birthday on the morrow and I’m all teary about it. My last baby’s last day as a baby. Sniffle. Sniffle some more. Big hug. Smooch.
Our back garden is now a lake and rain torrents down. I walk to the front door, babe on hip - our gutter has disappeared under fast rushing water, everything is swimming in water.
“I might set off.”
Beloved phones again five minutes later. “Do you want me to phone dad to help you? I just heard they think the lights near the school have gone under.”
“Yes, please.”
Beloved’s dad arrives promptly and we set off. Before we go a minute I know I’ve made the right decision. My driving is lousy at the best of times. There’s no way I’d navigate this without panic. The water is high on either side of the car and a lake has formed in the play-ground. Stranded cars, their hazards on, line the road. The street I normally turn down has completely flooded – there’s a car halfway down it, clearly stuck. We go on and turn, and try another street, going only halfway down before turning back, although two other cars go through the water, about knee deep. I begin to worry we won’t be able to reach the kindy by car, that I’ll have to get out and walk the last bit. The rain is belting down now. Going a circuitous route we reach kindy and gather up The Extravaganza and then head for the school. The walk is longer from the car here  - I jump fast flowing water, my boots sodden in seconds. I know I should have worn flip-flops but I’ve been celebrating the first chill of the year.
In the car on the way home the kids are excited, interested, as they see how deep the water is around the car and all the cars that are stuck, Adventure boy tells me he’s scared, but he’s grinning as he says it. When later he tells me he’s rain-sick I believe him, though.  
Home, we change, dry-off, get coffee. My father-in-law returns to his house.
The rain continues pelting down. The internet hasn’t been connected at our new house yet and I’m slow and clumsy on my phone as I search for news.
The bridge is under. Well, that’s normal for rain here. It’s when I see the news reports of cars floating I begin to panic. A car is floating near a fuel pump?
How will I pick up Beloved? I can’t drive in this. He phones to tell me he’ll walk home. It’s only twenty minutes away.
I read more. Thunder rumbles and rumbles some more. Lightning flashes. The rain continues. I read that a girl has been hit by lightning near us and phone Beloved in a panic to not under any circumstances walk home. I hope the teen can reach a hospital in the rain with all the road blockages.
Beloved arrives, sodden at the door. He listens to me like that. He’s soaked through and has walked through waist deep water. At the roundabout near the shopping centre, that was fine when we drove past it this morning, cars were floating. It is his last day of work before his annual holidays and he was going to get home come hell or (ahem) high water. 
The rain lessens. We can see it rapidly draining away in the garden. We make plans for planting in the sodden soil.
We are fine. In my eight years with Beloved, the Queenslander, it is my third big ‘hundred year’ flood.  
In this flood, people in our town have died. Five people, including a five year old have drowned. I try very hard not to think of their last moments. As well as the sadness, it seems surreal. I grew up with a healthy fear of bushfire, but this was just a bit of rain, albeit 36 centimetres in less than 24 hours. The car park to the shopping centre has flooded, as have the usual streets and bridges.
My brother emails that we’re like the four horsemen, bringing disaster in our wake, and I can’t help but wonder.
Beloved and I met in the Solomon Islands and shared riots, lockdown and evacuation together. Moving down from Queensland we hit our first floods together. I went to bed one night knowing Beloved meant to head through Grantham that night on his long drive from Queensland to Victoria, and woke to hear that Grantham had been all but washed away, with many deaths. Luckily, as the roads became deeper in water he had retraced himself and gone a different way, but until I first heard his voice I was… alarmed. (Read – frantic.) In Gippsland our town got fires and months of toxic smoke. In Glasgow we were just finding a park to head to the square where a truck veered out of control, killing eight, as it happened. In Paris, terrorists attacked on our last day. As I lay feverish in bed I heard siren after siren and woke panicked for my children, out with Beloved, more panicked after I quickly checked the news.
But we have three healthy kids and a full complement of parents and our country is free of war, famine or plague so I’m going to say we’re lucky and it’s just that we’ve travelled a fair bit that we’ve hit the edges of other people’s tragedies. Maybe other people are plagued by riots, floods and fires as well, but just don’t dwell on them?
I am unsure, but today is a new day and the sun is shining.



Giggle-Bear - helping with the unpacking. She's climbed into the drawer of one of the wardrobes.

The Extrvaganza - I can see her as a young woman in this photo. She's only four but so wise, so loving, so imaginative, so confident, so... um, assertive.

Adventure Boy - this summed up the school holidays for me. While I was feeding Giggle-Bear the kids got into the paint. This was before 8am in the morning. The bath-water turned a rich brown.


Adventure Boy - over at bribie Island, he's gone for a swim, now he's climbing a tree. Always on the move.

The Extravaganza. My strawberry girl. You might just be able to make out some of my newly unpacked books behind her. I've (shock gasp) decided to catalogue by colour this time. I have a preponderance of black, green, blue and white spined books. Who knew?

Giggle-Bear. The babies, waiting for everyone to come home.


Giggle-Bear - Littlest turned one this week. My cheeky, stubborn, bundle of delight and urgent growls. In the midst of moving we forbore a traditional party and went out to an extended family lunch at a favourite restaurant by the shore on Bribie Island. A perfect day - after horrific flooding the day dawned to a high, clear blue sky and everything looking all washed clean and sparkling.

The Extravaganza - enjoying her baby-cinno. Gotta tell you kiddo 'just a hint of sugar' is not two packets worth.

Adventure-Boy - showing Giggle-Bear how her abacus works.

We've had a hectic few weeks (thus the lack of posts). We've moved into our new house - but are yet to put in the new kitchen, so have half a kitchen - and have staggered through the school holidays while Beloved went to work and then straight to the new house to paint and cable and cable and paint and fix, caught a few hours nap and then back to work. We've had a new door put in and a wall knocked down and planted dozens of plants - tea, coffee, vanilla, pepper, mango, allspice...
We've had an attempted break and enter, a terrible flood and a bitter-sweet first birthday and now are surrounded by boxes and limited internet. (We didn't realise there's a two week gap between requesting and gaining internet...)

Deep sigh. I think I can catch my breath a little now. Maybe.

Once again joining with Jodi for a portrait once a week, every week (if sometimes a tad late) in 2015.