Friday, October 30, 2009

Gibbs Road

I didn't catch the Shire graders grading our road (Telfer Road) on Tuesday, but it was a nice surprise to have a lovely clean smooth road to drive home on after basketball.
On Wednesday morning I managed to get these pictures of the graders working on Gibbs Road.

Bonnie and Sophie have started playing basketball on Tuesday nights, but I haven't been able to convince Odette to play. This week Sophie's class cooked the barbecue to raise funds for their camp to Pemberton in December. Well the class didn't cook, it was the parents - or more precisely the mothers - who took the orders and prepared the hamburgers, sausages and crumbed fish burgers for those who wanted to eat. And while I was cooking, I couldn't be watching the basketball, so I missed Bonnie's first goal. I hope there will be plenty more goals for me to see now that Bonnie is one of the biggest of the biddis (years 1 to 3) she is bound to get more of the action.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Boyagin Rock

On the way home from York on Saturday we stopped for a picnic at Boyagin Rock, off the York-Williams Road. We pass the sign and the nature reserve every time we drive down that road, but we have never had the time to stop before. This time Nanna had packed us a picnic because we had to leave Hope Farm before lunch because some prospective buyers were going to look through the house. (Never mind that they didn't show up...)

The nature reserve is nearly 5000 hectares, and has several large granite outcrops. Boyagin Rock is the largest, and it is significant to the Nyoongar people. Apparently if you walk to the top of the rock without stopping the aboriginal belief is that you will live a long life. Well I hope I still live a long life, even though there were many stops on the way to the top - after all I had my camera and Hugh with me...

I would like to visit this nature reserve again, and explore it more thoroughly. There is a campground just outside the reserve boundary, and I found a documented walk on the internet site which gives a good guide to the area.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


On my way home last Tuesday I stopped to take some photos of the hay that Roger had cut. The lines cut into the crop make quite graphic patterns. The hay was dry enough yesterday afternoon to bale, but this morning is overcast and there was a slight drizzle this morning. I wonder if any will be baled when I get home tonight??

Ryegrass is the biggest contributor to hayfever, and here is a cose-up to show the offending pollen hanging off the rye-grass flowers.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Interschool Athletics

The interschool athletics carnival was held today in Boddington. That is about an hour's drive from here. Three schools participated - Williams, Bodddington and Darkan. Our school has about 100 students from year one to year seven.
Odette was not selected in the school team, so she was one of the few children who went to school today. I offered to take her with us to the carnival but she preferred to go to school.

Sophie on the podium (she came third out of three contestants in second division!)

Hugh preferred to come with us to the carnival, so I made sure I had something to keep him interested. We took a ball, but then all he wanted to do was play on the basketball courts, instead of where we were. I also had a little pack of puppy dog toys, so Hugh was given the puppies to play with. It is as close as we can get with a puppy right now, but we're trying to talk Daddy into letting us have a puppy.

Hugh's toy puppies.

The day turned out lovely for a sports carnival, and Darkan won the day, with most of the champion and runner-up trophies going to Darkan as well. It really is a change because for more than twenty years Darkan had not won the carnival, until last year.

The biggest stuff-up for the day was that the two-hundred metre races all had to be re-run when it was discovered that the track was measured wrong. The outside lane had a twenty-metre advantage, so the records that had been broken were in fact only for 180 metres not 200 metres!! No doubt someone will be pretty red-faced about that, and maybe will need some instruction in measurement...

After the athletics carnival we stopped at the Quindanning Hotel, along with quite a few other families from Williams and Darkan. It is a beautiful spot and there is a huge garden and outdoor area so the kids get to run around while the parents chat over a drink. Unfortunately there was something there that caused Sophie, Bonnie and myself to get hayfever, so we were a bit uncomfortable, and had very sore red eyes by the time we left.

Bonnie in her sports uniform at the Quindanning Hotel

Hugh jumping off the outdoor stage.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Community Swimming Pool

In Darkan we are lucky to have a community swimming pool. The community fund-raised extensively to get it quite a few years ago now. (Maybe 17 years! It was not long before I came to Darkan...) It has recently had a re-vamp and now has solar heating and a pool blanket. That will surely make swimming more pleasant and even extend the swimming season. It has always been a problem with the water being cold for the kids' swimming lessons at 9 o'clock in the morning, especially the last three years with the imposed daylight saving we had.
The pool is located on the school grounds, and is managed by the Shire. In order to use the pool community members have always needed to sign an agreement and pay an annual fee for an access key. This year, due to increased government safety regulations, the key system was set to be abolished. We were told that we would need a trained life-saver on duty whenever the pool was open. Of course that is not really feasible in a small community like ours. So our clever swimming pool management committee decided all key-holders would prove that they could be lifesavers and there would never be a need for a paid life-saver.

Roger being helped to safety by Dirk in a simulated assisted rescue.

Resuss Annie, our dummy for practising resuscitation.

Some of the participants enjoying the spring sunshine at the swimming pool.

In order to qualify for key access we had to demonstrate that we could recognise when a swimmer was in difficulty and assess the situation before attempting the most appropriate rescue. We were taught never to get in deep water with a person in difficulty unless the person was actually unconscious. We had to swim a length of the pool, tread water for one minute, and duck-dive to the bottom of the deepest part of the pool. We were shown where the first aid kit and emergency telephone are located, and shown a book where any safety issues are to be logged by pool users. We simulated some rescue situations - of a non-swimmer, weak swimmer, injured swimmer, and an unconscious person on the bottom of the pool. We also were shown the correct way to rescue a swimmer with suspected spinal injuries, and told not to try to retrieve them from the water until qualified assistance arrived (the ambulance has a spine board). We practised resuscitating an "unconscious" person at the side of the pool while they were still in the water, and doing CPR on the dummy after the unconscious person was removed from the pool with assistance. We learnt the different methods needed to resuscitate a baby or toddler.
I feel quite confident that I could cope with an accident at the pool, but lets hope that a serious situation never arises.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

At Hope Farm

Although our visit to Nanna and Granddad at Hope Farm was brief, everyone enjoyed the trip. We all love the place and we're very sad that my parents want to sell (see the real estate listing) it and move somewhere smaller, although it is understandable that they are finding it hard to put in the work to maintain such a large property now that they are older (in their seventies).

On the way to York we stopped at the Avon Ascent park at Gwambygine and had a walk on the boardwalk.

Hugh and Bonnie putting flowers in the birdbath at Hope Farm.

Nanna and Granddad in the garden at Hope Farm.

The children have been wondering what will happen to the alpacas when Nanna and Granddad leave Hope Farm, and Bonnie was brave enough to ask if she could bring them to Warragal Park. If that happens they would need a shed and a paddock built for them.

The kids leading Kimmy and Chiefy, the alpacas.

I told the kids that they would not be allowed to swim in Nanna and Granddad's pool, and we didn't take their bathers, but it didn't stop them swimming anyway. It turned out to be quite a warm day - 30 degrees in York, which definitely signals warmer weather to come. Hugh was happy to go without any swimwear except a flotation device, and Odette went in her knickers. Matthew fitted perfectly into a pair of Granddad's swimming shorts, and Sophie and Bonnie were kitted out in some of Nanna's old gear. The crocheted Bikini that Bonnie wore is a fashion classic, created by Nanna's late mother Great-Nanna in the 1980s. I remember my Mother sunbathing on the beach in them and getting herself a nice daisy-shaped tan where the holes in the crochet let the sun through!

Sophie in Nanna's cotton singlet and Hugh in just a flotation device.

The bikini pants were held on Bonnie with a hair elastic twisted at the back.

Bonnie applying sunscreen to Sophie.

Matthew in Granddad's boardies and Odette in her knickers.

After driving up and back to York in the day I was pretty tired, and slept most of the next day!
Today I will bed riving up and back to Perth in the day...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Portrait Photos

I bought the girls some new dresses this week and bought Matthew a PINK polo shirt to coordinate. Matt was not impressed but I think he looks great. I wanted them all to be coordinated for a photo shoot at Hope Farm. This photo was taken on the front drive as we left Warragal Park this morning. It was quite a misty morning which was fantastic for photos, but Hugh dropped his bread and honey on the ground so the good spirits didn't last long.
We arrived at Hope Farm in York - my parents' place - at lunch time and it is very warm in York. My Dad let the kids lead the alpacas, and evryone got very hot and red-faced. The kids couldn't wait to hop in the swimming pool, so all the blow-drying of hair and gel and product that was applied this morning will be ruined. And there may be a bit of sunburn and some mosquito bites too.
Maybe we'll just have fun instead of having a photo shoot at Hope Farm!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Visiting the Marshalls

Catching up With Family

We are really having a good catch-up with family these school holidays. The first weekend it was all of Roger's family who came to stay, then the following Tuesday my sister Angela brought her three daughters (who are the same age as Sophie, Bonnie and Hugh) to visit and they had lunch with us. Last weekend it was us who travelled, to visit the Marshalls at Torbay (my youngest sister Fiona's family), so the kids caught up with three more cousins - Alice, Henry and Elsa. Last night my elder sister Jennifer came to stay with her gorgeous 14-year-old daughter Emma. Now I am planning another trip - I hope I'll be able to take the children to York to visit my parents on Friday and Saturday. Then that will only leave three cousins that the kids haven't seen in the holidays, and Roger and I would have caught up with all our siblings and parents.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fiona's Garden

On the weekend we visited my sister Fiona and her family who live on a farm at Torbay, between Denmark and Albany on the south coast. Fiona has a very productive garden and it was very inspiring to explore it. Maybe one day we can have a productive garden too. But first Roger will have to build a fence and gate so that the sheep don't come in and eat everything!

Fiona in her garden.

I also loved looking at all the creative stuff Fiona has been doing inside. She has a lot of paintings hanging on her walls many of which are works in progress. She also has gorgeous creative little crafty things, and some magnificent second-hand shop finds which I loved. It made feel inspired to be more creative.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Look-Alike Cousins

Cute Cousins...

Odette and her cousin Elsa had a great time together on the weekend. They are born only five days apart (Odette on 10th October and Elsa on the 15th so they have their 7th birthdays coming up next week). In the bath together they looked like two peas in a pod! Can you see the family resemblance?

Elsa (left) and Odette (right)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Night Stalk

Tonight some of us went for a "night stalk" organised by the local Landcare Officer. We walked in the Capercup nature reserve, and didn't see any wildlife larger than a bat. The noise of our group wouldn't have helped, and with the little LED torch I had a wild animal would have had to come up and tap me on the shoulder before I saw it. There were lots of mosquitoes though, so we made sure we put on insect repellent before venturing out.
I had fun playing with my camera in the dark. At the end I put the camera on the roof of a car for a 30 second exposure and it almost looked like daylight because of the full(ish) moon.