Sunday, September 26, 2010


Yesterday we went to the Royal Melbourne Show even though Running Boy's team was in the Grand Final. He was well rewarded with a draw and re-match next week.

We saw animals - the boys lasted through two rounds of showjumping, enough for Princess Pea to pick up basics such as clear rounds and tight vs long lines. We went on the Crazy Coaster which was terrifying. We looked unsuccessfully for the snake man, the kids hoping for a repeat of last year's "The snake wee'd on Mum!" excitement.

There was a break for dodgem cars where Cheekus Weekus put hours of Top Gear viewing into successful practice. My chiro will be forever grateful. We recovered with a bit of woodchopping championships enlivened by a female competitor nearly losing her dacks, which seemed to slow her pace a bit, and a small boy of perhaps thirteen coming third in the States Juniors ahead of several strapping great seventeen-year-olds.

On to the Animal Nursery; a chook fell asleep in Princess' lap and everyone fretted about a lamb looking for its mum and an ewe looking for its lamb. (They didn't seem to match.) There was a litter of very young piglets with their sleepy mother; there was a gorgeous donkey foal.

It got dark. Foolishly I disclosed the existence of the Showbag Shed, which used to be called the Hall of Manufactures. (Last year, their first Show year, I fobbed them off with one of the carnival-side, limited-choice caravans.) Agonising decisions later it was hometime. "You're the best, Mum!" said Cheekus. "You got me three showbags and you only get cross about once every two weeks!"

Monday, September 20, 2010

In which enthusiasm outruns ability

For the last four years, ever since Cheekus was old enough to stand up on skis without cracking it, the big family extravagance has been to go skiing once a year. This year we stayed at Feathertop Lodge with another family. The kids made a tribe and the grownups talked, drank wine, watched the footy and skiied in various child/adult combinations. It was fabulous.

We went up a couple of days before the lovely Gs, bundled our lot into ski school and took off. The snow was powdery newfallen on deep base, the sky was blue, there was almost nobody else there and it took us very little time to get our ski-legs again. Soon we had warmed up enough to do Father Fosters, a nice tight little low-end black run.

Even though the CFO is eight inches taller than me, fit and naturally athletic I was skiing so well (really) I thought it was time to put him in his place.

"I saw your leg bend sideways" said the CFO helpfully.


Coming home from a week at Falls Creek:

Princess Pea: "Well even though the snow fight was a draw we really won a bit."
Running Boy: "Mum, how do you make a home-made bomb?"
Cheekus Weekus: "Zzzzz. Snnnrrrrk."

Thursday, September 2, 2010


RIP Crowntail.

Running Boy adored him for about a fortnight. Both boys bought Bettas (Siamese fighting fish) and set-ups with saved and pooled money and a bit of a parental contribution for cleaning their room up - a bit.

We never saw Crowntail eat and we think he starved to death. We have no photo of him. After emergency talks with the staff at a different petshop we bought food that bettas actually recognise as food, which apparently isn't the case with the food supplied in the "everything you need" betta kits. Cheekus' Weekus' Longtail is doing just fine. Once we were sure we all had the hang of it, Running bought another fishy, totally parentally funded, which was the deal for finishing off the worst bits of the room, totally re-arranging it and clearing out Underthebed.

We also bought bristlenoses, one for each tank. I'm not at all convinced by shopping-centre claims that bettas are perfectly happy all alone in tiny bare jars. They may well survive (apparently they have a special organ that helps them cope with still, unaerated water in small spaces) but it looks a pretty wretched sort of existence to me, so our bettas got bigger tanks, live plants and a companion each. Apparently bristlenoses are suitable tankmates because they don't have bright colours to spark up the bettas' fighting instincts, they aren't going to nip the bettas' lovely tempting floating fins and they truffle about in little corners vacuuming up gunk. Perfect.

At one stage Longtail was overly interested in Fatty. Lots of experimental nips and rushing at hiding places. Fatty responded by fanning his or her tail out to an enormous size and whacking Longtail in the face. They have reached an understanding that seems to involve Longtail sulking in a nest at the top of the waterweed and Fatty gluing itself mouthfirst to the side of the tank. This allows everyone to watch its mouth and belly in action and has made him or her quite popular.

Starry Night, who is a halfmoon and therefore hideously expensive - for a fish - and Stickytape got along brilliantly from the beginning. They amicably shared the hiding spots at the bottom of the tank right up until last night, when Running realised Stickytape hadn't moved all day. Sure enough, we had a deceased bristlenose. S/he is currently wrapped in a tissue awaiting a decent burial. So far as we can tell Starry Night doesn't seem to be mourning.

BTW looking for pictures of fish for this post turned up, amongst other things, Sailor Moon characters (probably predictable) and Yoda. True dinks.