Monday, 25 June 2012

Winter Solstice in Perth

It was Winter Solstice here in Perth the other day and the weather was rather obligingly non-English. Hooray for lots of reasons, one being laundry and another being outside play for Lady M.

The Chardmeister decided to take the day off from his current stay-at-home dad status and escape trained it up to Joondalup for an appointment with the bank man which has somehow turned into a jaunt to Perth itself. Good news really as this means I will be owed a 'day off' myself sometime soon. 

I had hoped for a present upon his return and my hoping was not in vain. He did indeed bring a present. A present of half a rotisserie chicken. My brother-in-law will quite literally wet his pants laughing when he hears about that.

Anyway, all this meant that I was able to fulfill my duties as an unambitious and unimaginative stay-at-home mum (as the always wise Cherie Blair has been very rudely calling us) and do some laundry, housework and cooking (and blog-reading of course). I also rammed in a trip to the library where I picked up 'Room' by Emma Donoghue and 'The Marriage Plot' by Jeffrey Eugenides.

Now, I realise I am, as usual, late to the party with both these books but given the smallness of the fiction section and their seeming inclination towards the crime genre, these were the only two that really jumped off the shelf at me. I'm thinking 'Room' first (although I still have 39% of 'Northanger Abbey' to power through. Still not an Austen fan. I've tried, I really have). 

Whilst at the library, we were told that StoryTime was on soon so Lady M and I duly trotted off to the children's room and perused some books whilst we waited for it to begin. Books chosen and sitting nicely with the other kids and mums (and a dad. Good on you, lone Dad) whilst the library lady began her spiel, one child hurled himself to the floor and began screaming and crying whilst his mother calmly looked on and the rest of us strained to hear the library lady's explanation of which books were going to be read over incredible rage of the angriest kid in WA. 


 Now, whilst I am all for letting your child tantrum it out and get over it, I would have removed Lady M from the library and had her calm down outside, returning if (big if) and when she was quiet. But not so this ballsy mum. No sirree. She let him wail and shout the entire time the poor library lady was reading and singing. He screamed through Twinkle Twinkle, sobbed all over 'The Hungry Caterpillar' and rampaged during Baa Baa Black Sheep. All the while, Lady M stared at him aghast, wondering (possibly) what he was finding so heinous about StoryTime. Or, most probably, thinking how the hell was he getting away with such behaviour and should she try it out next time. 

Note to Lady M: Do not try this as your mummy is not so tough that she can teach you that tantrumming will not get you your own way even when you are in public. Not even when you are in a library - a sanctuary of quietness and respect. Not even when you are RUINING StoryTime for ten other children and their poor suffering parents. She will get you the eff out of there quicker than you can stuff five Tim Tams into your mouth when she's not looking. 

And do you know what this joyous child's name was? Damien. I'm not even joking.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Ducks, rainbows and the Tim Tam Slam

So, we are at the beginning of our third week in Perth and it is raining. Again. I know, I know, it IS winter here. Yesterday was a beautiful day and we hoped that it would remain that way for the next few days not least because there is a gigantic bag of washing to be done and not a tumble dryer in sight. Rock n roll. 

Anyway, all the rain followed by bits of glorious sun has meant that we have seen many beautiful rainbows, like zees:

Very pretty. 

We went up to the Hills a few days ago to see if we might like to live there. Lovely area, very pretty and tree-y and laid back. So, not for us then (although there are a couple of book shops there (always a big plus), one of which I was allowed to enter for a quick perusal. I ended up buying a copy of this wonderful looking book for ten dollars. TEN DOLLARS for a second hand book. Better get used to it I suppose). The Chardmeister decided he wanted to much nearer to the sea and I am just not ready to be somewhere that quiet again.

However, I will be back to visit the big market held on the first Saturday of every month and report back on that. From what I understand, it's a crafty type market so I'll probably have to leave Lady M in the hands of the Chardmeister and wander round on my own, taking lots of photos of stuff I want to recreate when I have my craft/spare room (which makes me sound like I should totally live up in the Hills with all the artsy folk but I'm not really artsy, I'm just a pretender). 

As we took Zig-zag road back down to the 'flatlands',  we came across this lovely view of Perth CBD:

And also decided that we couldn't possibly live up in the Hills for fear that some silly teenage boy would take Lady M racing down it when she's fourteen. Not gonna happen. Especially if we don't live there. Final nail in the coffin for the Hills. I'm sure the folk up there are rightfully devastated... 

And now we are down South or SoR (south of the river), near Rockingham. It feels a lot more open here, much less built up but perhaps that's just our immediate location. We were supposed to go to Penguin Island today but the rain has killed that notion off so there remained nothing to do except get on the Internet to catch up on blogs and blogging.

I do have a couple of new blog crushes here and here and have also been salivating over the Smitten Kitchen (well, her website at least) and, as usual, laughing myself silly at this lady who would, I'm sure, sympathise with my laundry situation

I've also been lurking around several writing sites and Perth sites, sometimes combining the two, as well as purchasing a car and eating too many Tim Tams. I like the dark chocolate ones best so far but there are at least a thousand more flavours to try yet. White chocolate, mint, double coat, rum and raisin (these I might give a miss) amongst them. (Aside: I have just found out that biting the corners of Tim Tams and drinking tea through them like a big, flat chocolaty delicious straw is called a Tim Tam Slam. Aaah, the wonders of the Internet).

Whilst we were up near Joondalup, Lady M started to say 'duck' quite a lot. Now, all birds are ducks, including the chickens which loitered around our front door constantly, pooing EVERYwhere. I do not miss them. 

I think this is the only animal which she calls by it's proper name rather than by the sound it makes. No matter how hard I try, I cannot get her to say 'dog' or 'cat' or 'lion'. It's 'woof woof', 'owwwwwwww' and 'raaaahr' or nothing. Do all learning-to-speak children call animals by the sounds they make? 

Finally, are there any Australian twitchers out there who can identify this pretty little blue tailed bird (I am too lazy to google it...)? 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Farewell England, G'day Perth!

Oof. I've been technically living in Perth, Western Australia for 3 days now. I say technically because, really, it still feels like a holiday. The Chardmeister is constantly around, we're in a teeny tiny studio apartment (which means we're trapped in the cold kitchen all night as Lady M is sleeping in the front room/bedroom. No whinging from the new Poms, our choice to save money on short let accommodation...), we have a hire car and we're living out of suitcases. So, yeah, holiday mode.

The plane journey was, unsurprisingly, tough. Lady M decided sleep was for losers on the first (read: longer) leg. Thank God we were on the upper deck where less people were disturbed by much crying and protestations from her. She's lucky she changed her mind on the sleep/loser issue on the second (much shorter but I shouldn't be complaining, she may have decided to keep not sleeping) flight from Singapore to Perth. Sleep deprivation, PMS and hunger does not a happy mummy make. Still, I did manage to watch the new Underworld movie (not so great although Kate Beckinsale looks amazing as usual) and get some dozing in with Lady M laid across me in a most uncomfortable fashion. Hence dozing and not sleeping. Boo.

We arrived in Perth to be picked up by Steve from Wangara Car hire - highly recommended, he is very friendly and accommodating and the car hire is very reasonable - and taken to our first temporary Perth home. Boiled eggs and soldiers and a shower later and we were all in bed and asleep by 8.30pm.

Sadly, the weather has not been great - much rain and actually quite cold but, you know, it is the start of winter here! We've been back and forth to the local shopping centre in search of phones and internet dongles and FINALLY managed to get connected. Hurrah. Poor Lady M has been bored out of her 19 month old mind but now we are connected to the world again, things will be different. Tomorrow is tourist day!

A few things about Australia:
  • It's not as expensive as everyone makes out. Sure, some things are crazy expensive like greetings card - $5 - 7 for something nice - but, on the whole, pretty much like for like. 
  • People are super friendly and eager to help out. Bank staff actually behave like real human beings who are able to empathise with you. It's nice. 
  • If you don't like to cook, you're a bit stuffed. No long aisles of ready meals here. 
  • Australian TV isn't as bad as everyone makes out either. There's a lot of American TV on the programming schedules, much like the UK. The Good Wife and The Mentalist are on right now and, yes they are behind us but that just means I can catch up stuff like Dexter, True Blood and Grey's Anatomy when they're airing here. Hurrah. 
  • Libraries are amazing here! Not that they aren't at home, but everything you hire out over here is FREE! That means DVDs, CDs, even magazines! So cool.
  • Fashion isn't twenty years behind Europe or the States. The boys are all sporting ridiculously swept forwards hair styles and skinny jeans and the girls have massively back combed 'dos and pastel nails, just like the UK then.
The worst thing I can say about being in Australia is that I keep getting blog feeds with the most amazing summery recipes - I'm talking mostly about you and your strawberries and cream biscuits, Smitten Kitchen. Thank God I also follow foodie blogs like the kitchen maid and The Stone Soup which are currently showcasing all things chocolaty and anti-cancery respectively.

Of course, I can't really cook anything much at the moment due to a lack of kitchen equipment and, more importantly, store cupboard ingredients. Big boo. BUT, when I get into long term rented accommodation watch out oven (and waistlines) as I will be delving into the archives of all my favourite food blogs to catch up on all the cooking and baking I haven't been doing for two months!