Tuesday, October 8, 2019


One of the most magical things about whales (from a purely ego-centric point of view) is how interested they seem in us. It could be a matter of 'keep your friends close and your enemies closer'- and I do see that after we hunted them to near extinction and then polluted the ocean it would probably seem wise of them to keep an eye on us - but that doesn't quite seem to be it. 

We journeyed up to Hervey Bay recently and took one of the whale watching boats out to see the Humpback whales on their annual migration. It was truly amazing how intent the whales appeared to be in coming up to the boat, showing off, and having a look. They splashed their flippers and circled the boat repeatedly, and it really seemed like they were checking us out. 

In all the vast space of the ocean, and even in all the vast space of the bay, they approached us with curiosity and playfulness. My two year old, whose obsession with the Octonauts - cartoon characters who rescue a variety of marine animals-, recently eclipsed her interest in dinosaurs, was entranced. And, I may be biased (almost definitely biased) but they seemed to be especially interested in her - often following as she ran to the far end of the boat from the crowd. ( We ran from end to end of the boat many times over the course of the morning. Many times) 

A few days later, my husband and his friends hired a boat to go out and complained about the whales approaching. Let me repeat - he complained about the amount of whales coming up to his boat. I am still blinking and it's taken me a few months to get around to recording our trip. He said the whales kept swimming around them and then the tour boats would cruise up and then they'd have to move on because the fish would be gone As it was just a small boat he went out fishing with I can only imagine how immense the whales looked from eye level and be exceptionally jealous. Next year I am going out in the fishing boat to see the whales. (No fishing allowed!) 

I have dreams of being eye to eye with a whale. But this close was pretty magical. 

(And any trip no kids fall/jump overboard I count a complete and spectacular success) 

Saturday, May 18, 2019


Reluctantly, but not (quite) tearfully, I have been forced to admit that our littlest one is no longer a baby. Or even a toddler. She is not, as she assures me, a dinosaur, to be specific a brontosaurus, or occasionally a pterodactyl (but not a t-rex). But she is no longer a baby.
Our littlest one turned two and a half recently.
I figure at two you are still so young that half years count so I paused to reflect.
Our Anna-saurus is feisty. She is determined. She is humorous. She is joyful. She is wondrous. She is adventurous. She is imaginative. She is brave. She is affectionate. She is giggle-some. She is a spectacularly bad liar. She is co-ordinated. She is communicative. She is a climber. She is protective. You're never in any doubt about what she is thinking or feeling or what she wants. She is creative.
It is completely impossible to imagine the world without her, but it is equally true that four kids is the handful everyone comments on when we go out. Four kids - some with challenges - is more than a handful. But our Littlest is still the best decision we ever made. (Along with the other three.)
I cannot imagine being without her expressive mimes, hand-hiding-her-mouth-giggles, awed 'Wow!'s,  fierce kisses and plentiful hugs. She completes our family.
She is now entirely one of the tribe. (Or pack. Maybe pack is more truthful. A rather wild and wilful wolf pack. Except with less order.)
She is her big brother's favourite. On account of her savageness and penchant for biting. He gives her lee-way in a way he wouldn't dream of for his other sisters. He gives her piggy backs and if they team up, he's on her team. Which isn't fair, because they are by far the toughest.
She is her five year old sisters best friend and near constant companion. They spend hours in the garden together making mud-messes and climbing trees. Part of the reason we decided four was the magical number for us was so our five year old wasn't left out as her older siblings are very much a team with similar interests. And it worked. Although our Anna-saurus is frequently too rough with her much gentler older sister, they love each other fiercely.
She is her eldest sister's toy, experiment, puppy and cuddleupagus. She is read to, taught gymnastics, carted around and made into a fashion show. Her big sister is amazing at helping locate her, and make sure she hasn't escaped, or got into the eggs again.
Anna-saurus is afraid of nothing except pelicans (and possibly me disappearing.)
If someone comments on what a pretty girl she is, she shakes her head emphatically and Rarrr!s. She is clearly a dinosaur. Or sometimes a puppy.
She can climb to the top shelves of the inbuilt wardrobes and I often find her hanging out up there, looking down on the rest of us. She loves to crack eggs. I don't think she has a partially for carpet, but it definitely seems that way. I now hide our eggs at the very back, at the very top of the corner cupboard. She adores drawing on walls. And herself. Luckily crayons nowadays wipe off easily. Running away giggling and going 'na-na' is just about her very favourite thing. Particularly if we have to go somewhere in a hurry. In which case she'll run and joyfully hide under the bed, or circle the car.
Her favourite songs are 'open shut them', 'incy-wincy spider' and 'there were ten in the bed,' but she also adores all variations of This Little Piggy. (I get bored with pigs, and tend to move on to fairies, possums and dinosaurs, who climb gum trees, fly, and eat cup cakes and blossom)
Her favourite books are Baby Cakes and Curious George and anything about dinosaurs.
If I let her she would watch Peter Rabbit and Dino Dana - a show about a young girl who studies dinosaurs -  all day long.
I often wonder what my children will end up doing with their lives - so young it's impossible to tell, but as long as my Annna-saurus never loses her mischief and joie de vivre I'll be very happy. 

Monday, February 25, 2019

Sunset & Sea-Nostalgia

We're settling in to our new home in the bush - learning to enjoy the wide spaces, vast sky and sun-bleached landscape. The kids are back at school and kindy and I finally have time to look back over the photos of our busy Summer and sigh and hum. 

These ones are from an evening fishing over on the Pumicestone Passage side of Bribie Island. The two littlest ones ran and fished and ran and lolled in the shadows and ran while my Beloved, his cousin and a friend from way back in high school fed the fish fished. The girls loved helping with the yabby hunting. but their splashing and shallow-loading probably didn't help with the fishing. 

Thursday, February 21, 2019


So. We've moved to the bush. We're now two and a half hours from the sea and three and a half hours from Brisbane. We're finally (almost) stopping to catch our breath after all the packing, moving, travel and unpacking.
The days are hot and the land is dry. The colours are faded golds and browns and muted greens. The sky is high and generally cloudless.
I have found if I don't get my washing on the line by 7am I need to put on a sunhat, sunscreen and sunglasses to get it out. This is not an exaggeration. I tend to wait till evening and leave it out over night. It's a great time to admire the amazing stars and the cool night breezes.
Kangaroos bound by our back fence every day and cows stop to visit. Our first days were enlivened by a nest of tree snake babies appearing in the laundry, garage, over the screen of the front door and in the palm at the front of the house. Our clever cats alerted us nearly every time but until I had a proper ID on the type of snake, getting them out of the house and into nearby bush was a nerve wracking procedure. My Beloved - who arrived a week after the kids and I - had all sorts of helpful phone advice. "Could be an inland taipan, maybe death adder." So reassuring.
We are starting to explore - loading the kids in the car I picked up My Beloved from work one night and we headed out to the local dam for some fishing.
I am the queen of kangaroos and spot five on the way. The kids are already over them.
We arrive just as the sun sets - the light still warm and golden, the breeze delightful. The dam is very empty. It's skirted by a big swathe of pitted dirt where the water used to reach.
The kids don't notice and run and play and throw stones into the shallows.
We don't catch any fish - but have plans to return with live bait and different yada-yada fishings stuffs.
More importantly dozens of curious turtles come to observe us - poking their little heads above the water to inspect if we are food/bring food, watching for a moment and then submersing again.
We're thinking of heading home when the moon rises over the far side of the bank, slowly appearing behind the dark silhouettes of the gums. At first I thought it was some ultra bright headlights or something from a dance party. But no - a large and brilliant full moon. Appearing larger than it will all year. I take dozens of photos but none capture it's size, clarity, colour, brilliance. (I make notes to myself about tripods, lenses - the stars and moon out here deserve them. Because they're worth it.)
We're slowly settling in - to the sense of space, to the differences. I am hanging out for my first bill to arrive so I can get a library card. But everything is billed online now. (Luckily, I still have a card with my last library system. Ebooks are amazing. But I still want a local card.)

 My sweet savage, telling me she needs to be carried to the others because - prickles. 

 A rare photo of the four together. 

 Where the water used to be. 

 Running over where-the-water-used-to-be.

 And again - why walk when you can run? 

 Catch of the day.