Wednesday, 28 February 2007
And yet, I still must fly the flag for Melbourne (above), which is too often shortchanged when the lion’s share of the headlines go to its rival half a day’s drive north. Simply put, Melbourne is a city with its priorities in order: where a horse race is reason enough to give everybody the day off work, where substance matters as much as style and where the good things in life are there for the taking.
When I step out of my office building on the Yarra River, this is the view. Superb, no?
Tuesday, 27 February 2007
Monday, 26 February 2007
I'm counting on Annie and Molly to remember these nights and I hope they feel the same as we do: That time spent together - celebrating lives that are richer in simplicity than in material wealth - is really what makes us tick.
Thursday, 22 February 2007
Wednesday, 21 February 2007
Tuesday, 20 February 2007
Before we embarked on this year-long adventure, well-meaning parents asked me dozens of times how our kids would cope so far away from their friends and extended family. As Oprah would say, "what I know for sure" now is that being the new kid on the block doesn't necessarily have to be the terrible social burden it’s cracked up to be. And who knew it could be so easy?
Maybe it’s just luck or resilience or the magical clicking of personalities, or maybe where the new kid comes from is all that matters to those who’ve already staked their territory. Either way, we are very lucky indeed because Canada, it seems, is the coolest place on earth to the kids at Mornington Primary School and they’ve embraced Molly and Annie with great gusto. Joining Annie and Molly (centre and top) are (from left) Shania, Miia, Lauren and Melitta.
Monday, 19 February 2007
Friday, 16 February 2007
And Grandma, if you’re reading this, I didn’t see what he was wearing until this very moment. THERE WAS NOTHING I COULD DO!!
Thursday, 15 February 2007
Wednesday, 14 February 2007
Australia being the wonderful place that it is, school uniforms are de rigeur, and my goodness, after months on the move, don’t my feral little monkeys polish up rather nice?
Tuesday, 13 February 2007
After Melbourne Cup and all the big Group One races, one can always choose a day in the country for what Aussies call the picnic races. There are little racetracks dotted around the place, like this one in Balnarring, Victoria, and they basically involve the following: Drive your car into the bush (forest), set up among the cockies and gums (cockatoo parrots and gum trees) have a nosh (snack) and a flutter (bet) and then grab your champers (champagne) and toddle across the grass to watch the first horses fly out of the starting gate.
First-time visitors would be forgiven for thinking Melbourne is all about bets, booze and boobs at this time of year. And, um, they’d actually be right. Because it seems everyone – and I mean everyone – has a bet, everyone seems to be drinking and my God, if your boobs aren’t hanging out of your finest frock – it’s summer after all – well, you’re just not getting with the program.
Monday, 12 February 2007
Not sure where the kids are!
Thursday, 8 February 2007
Negotiating the purchase went a bit like this:
Me (to the private seller, in his driveway) : Hi. Wow. Love the car! I TOTALLY WANT IT! (which is apparently the wrong thing to say right off the bat)
Seller: Yes, this is an excellent car for the money.
Me: GREAT! How ’bout you show me how the top goes down now?!!
Doog (under his breath): Nancy, BE COOL.
Geoff (our Tasmanian friend who knows a bit about cars): Nancy, seriously, BE COOL.
Seller: It’s got blahblah under the hood (I’m not listening, mister!) and blahblah this and blahblah that.
Me: Yup, I hear ya! Mechanical shmanical! Fine, fine, fine! Low kilometres? Dandy! One owner? Most excellent! JUST SHOW ME HOW THE TOP GOES DOWN!
Geoff (to Doog) : Why did we bring her?
Wednesday, 7 February 2007
Here’s my rationale for this slightly out-of-character, moderately luxurious buy:
* When one is 42 and has never had better wheels than an ’87 wood-panelled station wagon, who’s to say one shouldn’t splash out on a convertible for the summer Down Under?
* When the pricetag for said wheels is only $5000 and when it will easily sell when the time comes to leave, what does one have to lose? (Never mind that the buyer will have to pry the wheel from my cold dead hands)
* When it’s the first car spotted on the internet and the seller is just around the corner, could there be a better omen?
* When the buyer has secretly nursed a convertible-ownership-type fantasy for years, this totally makes sense. Right? Right!
* Is there a better country in the world to have a convertible in summer? I mean, C’MON!!
Tuesday, 6 February 2007
Famous for its French history and cuisine, it’s also a fantastic place to see the smallest and one of the rarest dolphins in the world, the Hector’s dolphin, and since this is our final stop in NZ, it’s now or never. (I’m trying to impress upon the girls that it’s far better to see even one in the wild than a zillion in a tank - I just don’t do animals in cages – and so we find ourselves on this little boat having forked out 92 bucks to see the grand total of … ONE dolphin. Still, the girls love it, and that’s cool.)
So after months on the road, it's time to bid farewell to New Zealand - it's been bloody wonderful - and say hello Australia! It'll be nice to stop for a while ...
Monday, 5 February 2007
That big smile on Travellin Mama's face isn't because we've just seen albatross, penguins and a magnificent sea lion off the coast of Dunedin. It's because the hunky Heath Ledger-lookalike tour guide with the long funky sideburns who took this picture was just TOO DAMN DELICIOUS for words. My only regret - on this, our third-last day in New Zealand - is that I forgot to turn the camera his way ... and therefore can't share his extreme hunkiness with all of you.
Thursday, 1 February 2007
Annie and Molly have hit the ice like it's second nature, mixing it with the hundreds of posing, horny teenagers buzzing around to the beat of a tinny sound system. (All I’d have to do is swap the Pussycat Dolls and Beyonce for a bit of Meatloaf and Donna Summer and poof! I’d be 14 again and back at my old roller rink in Southampton, Ontario, smoking a Player’s Light and vying for the attentions of the cute Roller Fuzz in their tight Levis.)
Ah, but doesn't nostalgia work in the strangest ways.