Monday, 31 October 2011

deep blue - an orchestral experience


Have you ever been to an orchestral concert where you are told -

"If you've just switched off your phone, can you please switch it on again and leave it on!"

Oh, and take as many photos as you want..."

Well unless you've been to see deep blue, the answer is probably no?

My last blog post was about the traditionalist in me -
choosing to prefer a library in all its 'old word' glory over a modern colourful and noisy one. 
So just to prove that I'm not too predictable let me tell you about a recent concert that I went to.

deep blue is a group of energetic musicians who have a real flair for performance.

The following description of them is taken direct from their website -

"deepblue is part band, part orchestra and part theatre.

deepblue marries the traditional string section of the orchestra with a 5th section - digital and electronics,cameras, big screens and dynamic lighting.
It is a rich mix of classical, pop and film music
delivered with magnificent sound light,
images and stories."

Sibs and I were fortunate to go and see them last week and we were transfixed by the energy coming from the stage. It is a different experience to go to a concert where you are asked to text the performers and they respond! You become part of their performance.

deep blue encourage the audience to enjoy themselves - clap if you want to, dance, whoop, sing.... whatever takes your fancy.

The musicians make a point of mingling with the audience after the show and seemed genuinely interested in gaining feedback and chatting. A sure way of gaining some young followers and fans.

I enjoyed it - it was fun and refreshing.

I think there's a place for both the traditional and experimental in performance, and I would thoroughly recommend a deep blue performance. It will lift your mood.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Which library would you choose?

This is the library at the University where I studied many moons ago...

I remember it well...
It smelt of a library.
It was always quiet.
You more of less picked a spot at a table and that was yours for the duration.
You could tell what someone was studying just by where they were sitting

This is the University library that I went to today.

It was colourful.
It was vibrant.
It was noisy and busy.

How is this for a ceiling of books?



Even though there was colour and space and gadgets, and plenty of light,
I think I'm still pulled by the first image...

It might be the memories that it provokes,
or it might be the traditionalist in me,
...or it might just be what I like.

Which library would you choose?

Monday, 24 October 2011

Did you see the Queen?, neither did we...

but we did try...

See the drawn curtains on the top deck - she was in there....hiding!

I have to admit to being a little indifferent about the monarchy. Don't get me wrong, I have nothing much against them, it's just I don't come over all sentimental and patriotic. Anyhow Sibs mentioned a few days ago that we would like to go and see the Queen on her visit to Brisbane. As the day drew nearer she pulled the "it's part of my history" card and of course she knew that would get me!

I had a quick look at the arrangements for the Royal four hour trip to the city, and not wanting to battle the expected 100,000 at South Bank for the walkabout, decided that we would wander down to the river and watch the Royal boat go past, give a wave, take a few photos and all would be well...

We got to our spot about and hour and a half before she was due to go past and there was a smattering of people there.

Sibs patiently walked up the riverside....

...then down the riverside...

We watched a lot of the police and security patrols go up and down.
Some were even on jet skis which looked like a lot of fun.

After a while we felt a little sorry for the flag selling man, so we parted with $4
... and that filled about five minutes of the wait...

There was some excitement when the students from the school on the hill opposite came out to cheer....
she was getting close...

Then around the corner came this -

and everyone snapped away, until someone realised it was just a city cat on it's usual run down the river.

False alarm!

Never mind, seconds behind came a fleet of police escort boats and then
'Pure Adrenalin' - that's the name of the boat....not what I was feeling!

There she is!


In there somewhere?

Really, I can't see her.

Umm, neither can I actually....

Neither could any of the other three hundred or so gathered at the river bank...

It appears that Her Majesty was not going to make an appearance,
 not even for the press who were in close pursuit behind.

Maybe if I keep waving she'll come out?

So after she got all dressed up and even bought a flag to wave, the morning was a little disappointing for my little nine year old Sibs. At least she can say that she was there when the Queen went past in a boat!

Maybe we should have joined the thousands who apparently started arriving at South Bank at 3am to get a good spot...?

So we ditched the flag, climbed a tree, came home to watch the TV coverage of the Royals arrive to the crowds at South Bank, had some lunch and will put it all down to part of our history.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Cooking lesson Australian style.

There's lots to love about living here, and yesterday I spent the morning at school helping with a cooking lesson. Not just a cooking in a kitchen lesson  - the whole class were outdoors in the school garden, picking and preparing the ingredients before cooking and eating a meal together. Cooking wasn't like this when I was at school. I'm thinking more stainless steel, stuffy rooms....?

I guess that this is a kind of a reward lesson after learning how to look after the school gardens. The children were certainly excited about the prospect of cooking from scratch...or maybe that was the eating part!

part of the school garden
The edibile garden at school has grown (no pun intended) into a great space for an activity lesson for the kids. It has inspired us to set up a small herb garden at home and to enjoy the pleasure of  picking fresh salad leaves for tea.
Yesterday morning the children worked in small groups identifying and picking the silverbeet, basil and rosemary. Everyone wanted to do everything and I had to keep sharing out the tasks amongst my group of enthusiastic masterchefs!

This was a rare quiet moment listening to the instructions under the rotunda before the mad dash into the garden with their bowls.

First the focaccia bread was made and then it was taken to the pizza oven for cooking.
Bread and pizza tastes so much nicer from a wood burning oven.

 Then the washing and chopping continued to make the tomato salad and the silverbeet balls.

Junior Masterchef has made cooking cool here in Australia and it was so lovely watching them sharing ways of crushing garlic or chopping tomatoes.
"You do it this way..."
No, it's better this way...."

Of course the highlight of the morning was getting to eat the fruits of their labour. After clearing away the preparation mess, each group had to lay the table with plates and cutlery, even a table cloth. They didn't quite make it to sitting down to eat and it all became a bit of a mad dash to pick the biggest bread piece!

After a little coaxing, the washing up was completed and then it was back to class.

Not a bad way to spend a morning with my girl.

This is my 'good life Wednesday', so linking up with Sarah down there on the Sydney beaches.

Good Life Wednesdays

Recipe for silverbeet balls:

500g Rainbow Silverbeet
2 eggs
100g fresh white breadcrumbs
50g parmesan
1 garlic clove finely minced
pinch of nutmeg
salt and pepper
3 tablespoons of olive oil

Wash, blanch and finely chop the silverbeet.
Combine with breadcrumbs, parmesan, garlic, eggs, salt and pepper and nutmeg, and mix well.
Roll into balls (approximately a teaspoon size)
Cook in a little oil in a frying pan.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Smelly Movies.

Have you ever been to a 4D movie?

I have to admit to never even seeing a 3D movie before yesterday,
but at least I knew what 3D was all about!

Yesterday was a pupil free day at school, so Sibs had a few friends around to play.  After a bit of a rainy morning we all set off to the movies for a 4D experience.

Just in case you are also ignorant to the 4D concept let me enlighten you. - It's smelly movies!
Or more accurately put - it's Aroma Scope.

You get the rather fetching 3D glasses to wear and you are also given a scratch and sniff card. When the number appears on the screen you have to scratch and the aroma matches the scene.

Now this was a kids movie - 'Spy Kids 4', so you can image the kinds of smells that we nappies, farts, blue cheese bombs(?). Yes, it was all there for you to enjoy the full cinematic experience.

I have to admit that my scratch card was lightly polished as opposed to vigorously scratched...

The girls giggled throughout and there was great anticipation as to what the next smell was going to be.
'Spy Kids 4' is a typical kids film - plenty of action, cute kids, cuter dog, good messages. However the topic of conversation in the car on the way home was all about the smells!

looking groovy in the 3D specks!
 We wondered what would be next?
Will we get seats that move with the action?
Will the smells get released into the cinema?

...It's probably happening already isn't it?

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Good luck Wales

We're ready - Come on Wales!

Taffy is all dressed up in Sibs' old rugby shirt and although he's breathing in for the photo it still looks a little tight around that tummy....a few too many welsh cakes I think!

This is a big weekend for Wales in terms of rugby...the boys have made it to the semi-final of the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand and we will be watching tonight. I'm missing all there is to miss about being home today...

Pob lwc Cymru, good luck Wales

Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Do you write letters?

I wrote a letter this week...
a proper letter using a pen and paper.
I can't remember the last time I did that.

I usually scribble a quick note in cards that I send, but this was a stand alone letter.

I have become so used to the immediacy of emails and texting that I had almost forgotten what it was like to sit and use a pen to write paragraphs and pages...Crossing out the odd mistake rather than hitting delete took a little getting used to!

Forgive me for sounding like an old fuddy-duddy, but isn't this quite sad? Are we really moving to an age where we will lose the ability to hand write anything more than a quick shopping list. (Actually, I've just realised that I now use my phone to note down my shopping list...aahh!)

In our little family we often write each other notes. I include little messages in Sibs's lunchbox every now and again and especially if she has something special happening in her day. I am rewarded with the occasional note on my pillow or in place of my bookmark.
Last week Sibs received a card from her Gu (Welsh Grandma) and a letter from Papa in England, and I received a gorgeous handwritten thank you note from the ever thoughful  Jane (Life on planet baby).It was so lovely to open the envelopes and read the messages.

Ht made me realise that we had very slowly moved away from real writing in this house. I have become guilty of sending thank yous via email or worse still via Facebook...(oh, the shame!)

So I vow to bring back letter writing.


 Well, Sibs and I are slowly working through the Jane Austen DVD collection and she is fascinated by the quaint customs and manners. She has observed the importance of letters as the means of communication so I will use this to encourage her...

I don't think I will give up instant messaging (way too convenient), but when I can, it will be snail mail here we come....!

Monday, 10 October 2011

The week that was

This is my favourite part of the house.

It's small and insignificant with no view, but I love it. It brings a little of the outside into the kitchen and living area and because of the security of the lattice (that is backed by the all important insect screen) the doors are open for about ten months a year.

This is where I go to escape.

See the tranquil setting for morning tea on Sunday?

That is to disguise the chaos that was behind me in the kitchen!

I am seriously tired....the kind of tired that you can feel in your bones. You see, this week I have lived spent a considerable amount of time here -

I posted last week about Sibs performing in a ballet, it was a fabulous experience, but it seemed to be an all consuming week... Dress rehearsals, shows, stage make up and hair, eating out of a packed up box, organising lifts to save taking out a mortgage for car parking at South Bank! Then the painter at home wanting decisions about shades of white...!
I spent the beginning of the week cooking and preparing food that she could eat at the theatre, then after work and school it was straight back stage to the rather loud dressing room with over a hundred excited dancers. You wouldn't believe the noise!

my little dancing doll

Each night we would arrive home and Sibs would just about make it into the shower and fall into bed. Next morning she was itching to get going again...

By the time we got to Sunday, that's all I wanted to do was sit in my favourite spot with the papers and drink coffee.

So Neil and Sibs took off up the road to the French patisserie and brought back the pain au chocolat and I prepared the coffee.

Sounds blissful?

Well, not quite!

What you can't see in the first photo above is the trail of extension leads and mess in the kitchen behind me. The electricity decided that it would play up on Sunday morning.

The fridge was being powered from the socket in the living room, the coffee machine was carried into the study, the dishwasher had to be emptied of dirty dishes....getting the picture?

As I type this our tea for tonight is cooking away in the slow cooker - next to me on the study desk!

So did we relax on Sunday afternoon? ....oh no!

A bit of a tidy and it was all go again as we headed off on our "Stay at home Rugby World Cup tour".
After a glorious win by the Welsh on Saturday night, we headed off to watch the Wallabies overcome South Africa. Talk about tense!

There are a few people missing from the final whistle shot below - the tension was too much and they sought refuge on the balcony ! We had to drag Sibs away from watching New Zealand in the second game of the evening - early bed was calling.

Sibs in her NZ rugby shirt and a relieved cheer for the Wallabies.

Next weekend we get to do it all again for the semi-finals when Wales go up against the French and Australia play New Zealand....will the nerves take it?

And so it brings me to Monday. The house is quiet, the kitchen has been cleared, and life seems to be resembling a little bit closer to normal.

I do try and live the moments...just sometimes I wish all the moments wouldn't all happen at once!

Off to sit in that favourite spot I think...

Have a great week,

(Go the Welsh!)

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Dancing through Life

This is a week of weeks in our place.
(Talk about getting back to reality with a thump after a holiday!)

My little rugby loving girl is performing at QPAC this week in a ballet. The show is called "Dancing through Life" which is very appropriate for Sibs as she usually dances and prances around as opposed to walking anywhere

She is part of a performance put on by  Ashgrove Dance Studio. The first half is the junior dancers who will perform dances depicting the months of the year, and the second half is the senior students showcasing all forms of dance including classical ballet, tap, jazz.
I have had a sneak peak during some rehearsals and it's looking pretty good....

Due to the terrible flooding that shut down the theatres at QPAC at the beginning of this year the show had to be moved from the usual November slot to this week.
The dancers and teachers put in a tremendous amount of work to get the show ready and it is a joy to see the faces of the little ones when they get their costumes on and wait to go behind stage. There appears to be no stage fright - just excitement.

Sibs has been dancing since she was quite little - it's something that she asked to do since I think she could talk! I particularly like the dance studio that she attends as the emphasis is on enjoyment. The teachers are well respected and the older girls help out with the littlies and there is a real sense of friendship. The young ones watch the other classes perform and aspire to do what they do.

The bit I like the most is that the show costumes, dances and music is age-appropriate...if you know what I mean.

Sibs is desperate to have pointe ballet shoes and can't wait until she's older. I recently took her to watch Swan Lake and she sat for the three and a half hours completely mesmerised. I think I watched her as much as I watched the ballet!

So if you're a local and fancy some entertainment this week here is the link.

If you can't make the show and just for a giggle here is a promotional couple of minutes video from the show a few years ago.
Watch out for the little girl in pink attacking a sausage! (55 seconds in) - Sibs's moment of glory!!

Monday, 3 October 2011

I'm too young to look that old!

Renewing a passport is a time to reflect on how life has changed in a decade.....

I recently had to take a trip to the post office for the dreaded passport photo.

"You're not supposed to like your passport photo" said the lovely photographer as I groaned.

"But I bet you'll like it in 10 years time" she added with a chuckle!

10 years...............?

Sometimes it seems like a lifetime ago that I was sitting in the tiny photo booth in my local Tesco supermarket waiting for the machine to throw out those four little photos for my last passport that would allow me to go to Spain on a last minute holiday. I look...well...ten years younger!
When I think back, there are so many memories attached to that one photo...

I remember the very short hair style, the blond (!) highlights, the subsequent holiday in the Spanish mountains where it took us a few days to find out that about the terrorist attacks that had taken place in the USA.
I look through the arrival and departure stamps and reminisce...

Then I look back at the photo in my passport from a further 10 years back....
The big hair and earrings and crease free face.

I remember the carefree days of being a student. The photo booth in Swansea market that would take the photos for the passport that would take me backpacking with two good friends.

Now I wonder what I'll remember about this year's passport photo in another 10 years?

When did life speed past so quickly?

When did I change from the young girl anticipating a Summer backpacking,
to the one anticipating motherhood,
to the one that looks back at me from today's mirror?

Maybe I should love this new passport photo...
for I don't know what will greet me when I look at the next one!!

Saturday, 1 October 2011

"Take only memories, leave only footprints..."

Home from our little holiday in Central Queensland.

My goodness, this country is huge! We managed to explore only a tiny dot of it on our travels.

early morning at Seventeen Seventy
We saw  lots of trees, sugar cane and cattle; 
the odd town with a bucket full of history;  
but mainly miles and miles of nothing with little pockets of extreme beauty.

It's back to routine with a vengeance today, but I just wanted to post something quickly.
This little wooden sign in one of the campsites caught my eye and I thought it was a lovely quote.

We certainly took plenty of memories (and hundreds of photos).

Seventeen Seventy

Bargara near Bundaberg

I'll catch up next week and share some more tales and photos of the trip.
Making the most of the weekend...