m i a o w


Tag: Travel (Page 1 of 6)


They have invited me (well, us) back! Many moons ago I housesat Mung and Rach’s house in Collingwood. Mostly to have alone time in order to complete my masters thesis. I did manage to crank out my required wordcount – and kill their goldfish. And re-break a plate. And bury a pigeon that had died from ingesting too many peaches in the backyard…

All my posts from that time appear to be written with an excess of both detail and exclamation marks. It was, I suppose, either side of 2003 New Years Eve. If I was an organised person I would be able to put my hands on a few photos I took at the time…but my filing system is somewhat organisationally challenged…

Anyway, I (now we) have been offered the use of the house for a week or so and that’s where Small Z and I will be staying from tomorrow. There are plans for the museum, the aquarium, and of course, hot chocolates at Sugardough… Hello inner-city life!!

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Chopped and out and about

I forgot to mention in the previous post of lament what I did (besides attempt to kick back) on the first two nights in Collingwood. On the first night? I found some decent scissors and hacked at my hair until I considered it an improvement. On the second night? I dyed it red. Ha.


I had reached that don’t-care-what-I-do-as-long-as-it’s-SOMETHING point. And yes. I now appear like a cross between Molly Ringwald circa 1988 and Endora. And with any luck, a little bit Claire Skinner. My cutting must not be too bad, as I had trouble convincing M that I’d attacked it myself.

Saturday morning, I took Small Z to Ceres where we wandered the vegetable stalls, checked out the chickens and watched the band play. It was lovely. We hung out for an hour or so and then were joined by M. M! Hooray for co-parenting! Someone to carry the child when it wants to be carried, someone else to help with rushes to the toilet and come up with convincing explanations as to why playing in the washing up bucket of the cafe is not so good…

Someone who took us to Sugardough and didn’t pale at the amount of hot chocolate I put away!! Not only this, but he then went and shopped for dinner AND cooked it for guests who came over at 6pm. Oh god. There were SO many points that he gained. And I realised, belatedly, how much I have come to rely on him in my state of pregnant whaledom…

So I was more malleable than usual on Sunday when we went to the Convent, and the Collingwood Children’s Farm, and the Convent, and the closing of Hamer Hall, and Federation Square. As well as detouring to drive to Yarraville and back to the city to kill time while Small Z did car-slumbering. The children’s farm was a hoot for Small Z, who went on a hayride, held a rat, said “Hello Jemima Puddleduck!” to some of the many white ducks and marvelled at the Silky Bantams.

Collingwood Children's Farm
Collingwood Children's Farm
Collingwood Children's Farm
Collingwood Children's Farm
Collingwood Children's Farm

On our way back to the car from the farm we popped in again to the Convent, where we got M a coffee… And I scored a FANTASTIC pair of Ugg Boots. I don’t use that last phrase lightly. My old ones, which have done me for eight years, make my mother moan in physical pain whenever I wear them, because my toes stick out a hole at the end. These ones? These are seriously excellent. I will post a picture at a later point, but basically, I wasn’t going to get them because they look very un-Ugg and fairly un-slipperlike… But once I stuck my foot in and felt what seemed to be an entire sheep nestle in between me and the sole, I was throwing my $20 at the woman. They were secondhand, but unworn. Woo! (Ooh – I just googled them – they are here, the ‘oatmeal’ colour.)

Hamer Hall is shutting down for re-development for a couple of years and they had a big, kid-friendly send off with some great bands, including the Ottoman Turkish Mehter Band who marched around at the end. Small Z then climbed trees in Fed Square, looked horrified at being taken into the gallery, and seemed to have fun in the play centre on the corner of Russell Street and Flinders Street – part of Fed Square you would never know existed.

Goodbye Hamer Hall

Our first tram ride had me shoving M and Small Z out at the first stop, with my ratlike dole-bludging sensibilities still very much intact – I spied ticket inspectors ready to board. We vacated. Rapidly. And found somewhere to buy tickets that didn’t require ‘coin only’ currency. I was interested to realise that Myki is still very much a figment of imagination and that MetCards are still common currency. What can I say? I’ve been out of the public transport loop for a considerable time.

By the time we got back to our temporary house we were all exhausted. That night, Small Z continued her semi-unsettled sleeping, which I put down to her being away from her everyday surrounds. The next morning, she and M met my mum at the Melbourne Aquarium for an adventure while I worked to the tune of the washing machine harmonising with the dishwasher… Small Z is fish obsessed and I would have LOVED to have seen her utter glee at all the sharks, stingrays, moray eels and Moon Wrasse. She had a blast.

They returned at around lunchtime and I took a break. My mum stayed over and froze her butt off in the spare room at the back of the house, M went back to BoatLand and I worked again. Mum then took Small Z and I out for soup and cake at Gluttony, somewhere M and I used to go TWELVE YEARS AGO when we first hooked up and he was living around the corner. It’s still good. Particularly the flourless chocolate and almond cake! Mum then helped us negotiate the cursed supermarket before we put her on a train at Victoria Park Station.

Argh! Back to single-parenthood!!

Mother’s Day IIII

Ah – the day put aside to spoil mothers. I don’t care who invented it – it’s a great idea. My great hope, which I had failed to communicate to M, was that he would grab Small DB at her first peep in the morning, and let me sleep in a little bit. And…as if by magic! It transpired!!

Small Z and I slumbered on until around 8am. It was utterly delicious. Inside Ian plied me with tea, while Jen continued sleeping. The kids had breakfast, we whiled away a couple of hours and I booked us a table for breakfast at the Poinciana Cafe in Mullumbimby. M took on the majority of the kid wrangling and I felt like I was having a holiday…

Jen and I drove with her offspring in the Mother’s Car to the cafe, while my Smalls travelled in the Father’s Car. The cafe was full. Breakfast took an hour to arrive. They ran out of sweet muffins. And when they did arrive, my pancakes were woefully petite. Despite all of this, it was excellent. We read magazines, called our mothers and nattered on about the hopelessness of real estate in NSW (unless, of course, you have stupid amounts of money).

Our lovely friends
Small DB - Mother's Day

It was after noon when we left and drove to Federal to take the kids to the park. After a quick whizz down the hill on a scooter, Jen sat with me and Small DB – we left the others to their more physical pursuits. I was feeling pleasantly uplifted, having been counselled by Jen during our car ride about pulling my finger out and doing some writing (other than blogging and my work reports). She has the ability to make things seem possible…

Once we got home, the boys took all the kids (minus Small DB) for a walk near the Minyon Falls in Nightcap National Park. I got the baby to sleep. Jen and I had some tea, some talks and some magazine reading. No one demanding anything from us. No one needing anything. It was like a deep breath…

When they all returned, the noise level increased, but M remained his malleable Mother’s Day self – he had pretty much stuck to this for the whole day. It was awesome having someone just nod, agree, change nappies and distract Small Z for 12 hours! And my gift? I had bought myself the most divine cup for drinking tea with some of my birthday money – and M bought me…another one! (As a back up, in case mine is accidentally annihilated.)

Comfy Cup

It is matte porcelain on the outside, and glazed on the inside – with dimples in it for comfy holding…

Night and day

Do you know how often I am blogging inside my head? I find it SO frustrating not to be able to post when I have the urge. I do need to maybe reduce the size of my posts – and maybe posting a snippet or two more frequently will balm my soul? So where’s it at?

Last weekend, after urging from M, I took the two Small’s to stay at my mother’s new place. The added incentive was that SWWNBB and Small A were going to be there. Put it this way. The daylight hours of our visit were fine. I snaffled Small A, stuffed him in the hug-a-bub that SWWNBB is yet to master and kept him there, slumbering for two and a half hours. I walked with him in there and Small DB asleep in the pram.

I had been wondering if Small Z was OK, and then glanced down from the cliff top path I was walking along and saw her and her Nan down on the beach making sand castles… So we went to join them. In retrospect I should not have let Small DB down to play in the sand. She ended up with freezing feet and her cold got worse 🙁 (bad parenting moment).

Looking down from the cliff
The Smalls - Winter at the Beach

(Eeek. Look at her little red pants – I have been making her trousers from woollen jumpers – a whole other blog post…)

Night time, was when it fell in a heap. The spare bed is in the middle of the room, thereby allowing small people to fall out either side of it. My mother won’t move it against the wall as we don’t stay enough for her to bother. We might stay more often if the bed was moved… And there’s your first Catch-22…

So we slept on the mattress on the floor, which we don’t object to, except that I should have brought our own little heater. The one in the back room is one of those blowy reverse cycle ones that parch your countenance to truckstop fried egg. So I turned it off. Whereupon, an hour later, we were in a icy cold crypt and Small DB was coughing up a little lung. So I turned it on. And we fried. And this happened about six times during the night. Utterly fulfilling the term ‘reverse cycle’. Boom, boom.

Small Z was an angel and slept through me lurking around, strategically placing damp towels and a bucket of water to try and hydrate the air. She slept through Small DB and her cough and frequent waking. She even slept through both of us giving up and getting up in the morning while it was still dark.

I was so grumpy from the night of horror, and the fact that M had been urging me to, “Go and stay there – it will give you a bit of a break…” that I bundled us all into the car before 10am and headed home. Highly disgruntled. Small DB finally slept once we hit Frankston, so I drove home, M jumped in, and we continued on a family drive to Flinders. Small DB got a good sleep. I ended up with a custard donut… Things improved.

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