Thursday, December 1, 2011

Tidy Town Award Winner

Sophie at the Esplanade Hotel in Fremantle for the Awards.

The Shire of West Arthur is the proud winner of the Western Australian Tidy Town - Sustainable Communities Award. Tidy Towns - Sustainable Communties is an annual awards program that aims to encourage, motivate and celebrate the social, environmental and economic achievements of regional communities across Australia.
On November the 18th, I accompanied Sophie to Fremantle for the State awards ceremony. Sophie has just become a member of the local Tidy Towns committee, as a representative of the Youth Advisory Council.

Although West Arthur was nominated for five out of the six category awards, we didn't win any of them. So to be announced the overall State winner was a huge surprise and a great thrill. The award was presented by His Excellency Mr Malcolm McCusker AO CVO QC, Governor of Western Australia, to our Shire President  Ray Harrington. See a newspaper report HERE.

The announcement was very exciting.
The Governor with West Arthur representatives.
The acceptance speech.

The winners.

Now that West Arthur has been announced as the Western Australian winner of the Tidy Towns Sustainable Communities award, we go on to the National judging. The committee has to prepare a new submission with different guidelines, and the whole community will be working towards seeing if we can bring home the national award next year...

Narrogin Triathlon

Last Sunday the children competed in their first triathlon. Actually Sophie didn't enter because she couldn't organise a team - originally she thought she could have a team with Bonnie and her friend Amelia, but both Bonnie and Amelia decided to do individual events. Hugh and Odette also competed as individuals, doing all three legs of the triathlon.
The Narrogin Primary School P&C triathlon has special junior sections to encourage the participation of younger children, so Hugh and Odette in the 9 years and under event swam 50 metres, cycled 800 metres and ran 400 metres. Bonnie was in the 13 years and under section and had to swim 100 metres, cycle 1200 metres and run 800 metres.

Sophie offered high fives to Bonnie and her friend Amelia after their race.
Bonnie and Amelia at the finish line.

Bonnie coming in at the end of her race, followed closely by Amelia.

Bonnie at the end of her cycling leg.

Odette showing her race number drawn on her arm. They also wore electronic ankle bands for the timing.

Odette after she recovered from her race.

Bonnie completing her swimming leg.

Odette in lane 5 waiting for her race to start.
All of the children performed very well. We had been doing a small amount of training, and had done a couple of trial races in Darkan beforehand. We had mainly concentrated on the swimming because that is our kids' weakest area. We are lucky to have a community-managed swimming pool in Darkan that we can use at nearly any time. Odette chose to swim backstroke, which is her strongest stroke, and Bonnie swam one lap of breaststroke to break up her freestyle so she didn't get too puffed out. Hugh only had his first swim in the deep end of the pool the week before the real event! He has only passed stage one, which is the introductory level at swimming lessons, and he hasn't learnt proper swimming, but he has taught himself pretty well to do freestyle. Of course he can't do the breathing so he was holding on to the edge of the pool to take a breath.

Hugh wouldn't let go of the side of the pool!

I walked alongside Hugh and encouraged him during his swim (actually I encouraged him to let go of the edge of the pool, but he didn't listen!)
But in the Narrogin pool there is a low "waveless" edge on the pool, so he grabbed onto that and didn't let go for fifty metres! Needless to say his swimming leg was pretty slow - it took him over seven minutes. But he made up for that in the cycle leg. I knew he rode quite fast, because he almost kept up with the older kids during our practices, but I was astounded when I saw the results and he was the fastest of all competitors in the nine-years and under category. He isn't six yet, so by the time he is nine he should be really really fast!!

Odette finished fourth in the girls 9yrs and under category, and she performed well in each of her three sections. Next year she will have to go up to the next category as she is already nine. Bonnie came third in the girls 13yrs and under category. Running is her strongest section, but she did well in cycling too. If she trains a bit more and perfects her swimming she should be a real star by the time she is thirteen!

It was such a great event that I am now looking for more triathlons to take the kids to. And who knows, one day I might be able to swim, cycle and run that far too!!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Perth Royal Show with Odette

Because it is Odette's birthday next week (she will turn 9 on Monday) I took her for a birthday treat at the Perth Royal Show. She invited her friend Jen to go with us too. We went to Perth last night and caught some of the night time action at the show. We went on the big wheel, watched the fireworks, and saw some nerve-wracking FMX (freestyle moto cross) stunts in the arena. We stayed the night at my sister's place not far from the showgrounds and went back to the show this morning.
I took Hugh's little point-and-shoot camera - no way was I lugging around a big heavy camera and lens all day!  So in pictures, here is some of what we did at the show:

Went on the tea-cup ride (we wanted Odette to go on it because 7 years ago we went to the show and the operator had to stop the ride and get her off because she cried so much.)

Went on the chair lift

Milked a pretend cut-out cow

Posed as/with Captain Cleanup

Explored permaculture concepts

Played with a junk sculpture robot

Bought a showbag

Swapped shoes and socks when Jen got blisters
Yes, Odette's toes are really long

Drank lemonade (not as good as Bonnie's home-made stuff was the verdict)

Climbed on a rock-climbing wall
Fell off the wall

Went caving in a model cave

Learnt more about Malaysia

Rode on the "Dragon Wagon"

Saw lots of poultry

I had lots of fun with the two girls, but I had forgotten how tiring a day at the Show can be! Maybe I'll be ready to tackle it again in another seven years...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sheepdog Injury

Roger with Belle
I am so glad that I wasn't there when Belle hurt herself. Apparently she chased a lamb that broke away from the mob, and in doing so she ran into a stick which stabbed her in the chest. Roger didn't think the injury was very serious, but he took her to the vet the next morning and had the wound cleaned and stitched. The vet put in a drain, which will have to be removed by Roger, and he'll also have to take out the stitches in a week or two.
Because I know you love photos of injuries (or is it just that I love taking them?) I took a photo for the blog.

Belle's wound with stitches and drain

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bonnie in the State Schools Cross Country

Today Bonnie ran in the State Schools Cross Country event at McGillivray Oval in Mt Claremont, Perth. She ran 1.5km in the year 5 girls race. I was very proud of her, even though I thought she could have done some more training in the lead up to the race. (But I didn't want to be a pushy Mum, so she did it her way.)
It is the fourth cross-country race Bonnie has competed in this year, starting with the Darkan Primary School faction carnival in which there were six girls in her age group. Then in the interschool carnival there were about 16 girls. At Narrogin in the regional event there were about 40 competitiors and Bonnie came ninth. Today there were 271 registered for her event, and Bonnie finished at number 121. Her friend and classmate Amelia came in 90th.
The best thing about today was seeing these girls from a small country school competing in a big event. There were more kids in each race on the program than there are in the whole school at Darkan!

We arrived early at 9am, and the ground was wet with dew

The crew were still setting up...
Hugh came with us, as he had been sent home form school yesterday feeling unwell.
He was obviously feeling fine today!!
We walked the track, and this was the only section that wasn't on the grassed oval.
A very impressive finish line - until it deflated...
The starting line
Bonnie is in the middle in a red shirt...
Waiting for the start...
The large field heading off...

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mobile when you Need it

A man with a chainsaw
I was SO GLAD for mobile telephone reception last week. I was driving home one dark stormy evening and came across a tree branch over the road. It was too big for me to move, and I couldn't drive around it. I didn't know if I had enough fuel to drive back to the highway and try a different route home. Mobile telephone coverage is pretty patchy around here due to the topography, so I didn't expect that I would be able to call for help. So it was pure joy to see two bars showing on my phone, and to hear Roger on the other end of the phone assuring me that he would be there in a flash in his superhero costume. (He didn't actually say that, but a man with a chainsaw is a hero in a situation like that.)
The kids came too, and soon enough we were all home in our cosy warn house.

Small boy, big muscles!

Hugh helping out

Check out Bonnie's new gumboots!

Once the branch was cut into pieces it was easy to move.

Bonnie and Odette working together.

Sophie doing her bit.

Thanks Roger!