ga Oscar's Adventures

April 2, 2009

Forgot to mention the standing antics!

Oscar stood properly today - many times!

When we got in from the museum he was playing on the floor and decided that today was the day that he would just stand up! No wobbling, with feet planted firmly on the floor.

He repeated this feat of excellence about 20 times with a big shout of triumph every time to show how clever he was :) We agree Oscar. Now all you need to do is walk!

Tim Tam count: 60 ;0

Ned Kelly, funny mirrors but the dinosaurs are missing

We are back in Melbourne and have been here for the last 4 days and it has been 30 degrees in the shade every day :) Today the temperature hit 32!!

On Monday Jeremy and I went out for the evening on our own! Jason and Rachel did a very good job of baby sitting. We visited the Old Melbourne Gaol at night for the dark tour of the cells and displays. It is apparently haunted but we didn't see any ghosts. Ned Kelly was held and executed at the gaol and we saw his homemade body armour and death mask. There were also many other creepy things to see including the stocks to hold the prisoner still whilst being whipped, the gallows and numerous death masks. Jeremy found the anti self pleasuring gloves very funny. All in all it was well worth doing at night because of the spooky atmosphere and candle lit interior.

Today we went to the Melbourne museum for a wander around in the air conditioning. In the middle of the museum there is a living forest display with birds and insects and a snake in a vivarium. Which was a good job because he was poisonous. There was also a random corner display of naked people in various poses and Oscar had a bit of a sit on one of the naked ladies laps. Unfortunately the dinosaur display doesn't open until next week.

In the body section there were some funny mirrors which Oscar and his Daddy found very amusing. After this hilarious moment we went outside into the children's play area where Jeremy built Oscar a lovely house out of lego bricks (giant sized ones) which I proceeded to smash as I lowered Oscar into it :( Not a happy Daddy!!

Going back to the previous evening, we fed possums yesterday. Oscar was very excited and the little critters had to get used to the level of squealing before they could bring themselves to approach us for a nosh. There was even a teeny tiny baby possum who ventured out to see us.

Anyway, it is our last night here and we are packing up for the long journey home via Singapore where we will no doubt increase the weight of our baggage.

Tim Tam count: 59 ;)

March 28, 2009

Wine Time - Addendum

Rae forgot to mention that we visited a place called the Whispering Wall. It's a reservoir dam that has incredible acoustics - one person can stand on the far side while the other talks to them in a near whisper. The sound carries across the face of the dam so perfectly that the speaker is perfectly audible!

Oscar The Ocker

I want to share a little discovery I made today - according to Wikipedia the word "ocker" (which is an old term for an uncouth Australian) was originally used as a nickname for anyone called Oscar! If you don't believe me just visit Obviously being an Australian is his density.

March 27, 2009

Wine Time!

We have been enjoying wine time in Adelaide much like Kath and Kim :)

The day before yesterday, just after Oscar did his wobbly standing trick (which he hasn't done since) we went out and about to visit the vinyards. We first went to the Jacobs Creek visitor centre where Oscar decided he was starving and I had to try and feed him a very orange lunch without spilling any in their very stylish looking wine tasting area.

Then we headed off to the Rockford winery where Jeremy did some serious tasing of very expensive wines. Oscar and I went for a wander around and saw the grapes being crushed and water being added to the vats.

On the way back we stopped for ice cream that was mixed on a frozen marble slab with any additions of sweets or chocolate that you could think of. Oscar and Jeremy were very impressed :)

Yesterday we went into Adelaide city with the Phillips clan. When we arrived in the centre we hopped on a tram to the seaside! The Glenelg beach was lovely with very fine white sand and lots of pretty shells, which Emmie and Charlotte would have liked us to take home! Down on the beach Oscar did some exploring on the sand, which included some patting, throwing and digging. No eating because he had already tried that one.

I would like to report that McDonalds has frozen coke in Australia! Very nice on a hot day :)

After our excursion down on the sand we ventured back into the city on the tram. We went to Rundell Mall, which isn't just a shopping centre. It is a street/walkway with streets of shops off it. During our wanderings Jeremy found a DVD of Bargearse and Simone found Oscar a Wiggles DVD! Apparently you can't come to Australia and not see the Wiggles!

We had a wander around the markets which you could smell from down the road, with many cheese stalls, purveyors of fine meats and cake and sweets stands. Oscar was very interested and because there was so much to see he didn't have a nap all afternoon.

On our way back to the car we found a leaflet about the giant rocking horse that is half an hour away so that is where we are going today.

There aren't any pictures to go with this blog yet because Jeremy realised that he has left his camera over at Jarrad's friends house and the pictures are trapped elsewhere!!

Jeremy and the other lads ate out at a friend's house last night where they had a boys barbeque of meat, meat and more meat. He obviously was so excited to be out and about without his nagging wife that he forgot to pick his camera up from the table.

Before it was confirmed that the camera was at the house, he was of course absolutely 100% positive that he had given the camera to me and that it was obviously my fault :) Ha ha. Now that we know the truth of the cameras whereabouts, it is 50% the camera's fault, 50% the car's fault and whatever is left over is Jeremy's fault!

All in all, a very relaxing time is being had by all in Adelaide :)

March 25, 2009

Oscar's Stood!

Nothing to do with the holiday but the news that Oscar stood up all on his own is certainly an adventure.

Not 5 minutes ago Oscar was sat on his bum in Jarrad and Simone's kitchen, leaned forward to put his hands flat on the floor, and straightened his legs to put him in a strange chimpanzee crawling position. From there he lowered his centre of gravity by squatting and then pushed back with his arms so he was free squatting. From there he straightened his legs again and came into an almost balanced bipedal position. Then he sat down with little grace.

Of course we didn't have the camera at hand, and every attempt he's made since we fetched it hasn't been successful but we hope to bring you documentary proof before long.

This Kermit T Frog for Sesame Street Action News.

We're In Adelaide!

We've done Melbourne to death now, plus it's raining there, so today we decamped to Adelaide in time to avoid the Australian Grand Prix (which starts in two days and is only one block away from the hotel we were staying in St Kilda).

Our day's journey began at 4:30am when we woke up to ready Mr Pickle for the bus to the airport. He was not amused at being woken up at such an ungodly hour - especially since it was still raining. The Skybus to Tullamarine took us past a darkened CBD and over West Gate Bridge, before depositing us outside the QANTAS terminal. Check-in was a breeze and before long we three we winging our way towards South Australia on a half full flight.

Jarrad and his mother Judy, who by some strange twist of fate was dropping Keith off at the airport at exactly the same time, were at the gate to greet us. Jarrad's powers of recognition were better than mine as he spotted me first. (My excuse is that I was busy wrangling Oscar.)

Since arriving we've been out to lunch, done a spot of house hunting, picked up some necessary supplies (nappies, baby food and TimTams), and had a spot of lunch. We're now back at the Phillips residence quietly awaiting the arrival of the rest of the family (wife Simone and four children Jordan, Madeline, Emerson and Charlotte) while Oscar practices not sleeping.

March 22, 2009

Catching Up

Apologies for not posting in a couple of days but my laptop has finally shuffled off its mortal coil and is now in silicon heaven with all the pocket calculators. Be happy for it because it had a long and good life. RIP Toshiba Satellite Pro M15, you will be remembered (until I get to Singapore to replace you).

With the sad news told it's time to get on to the good news: Rachel and Jason got married without a hitch. Pardon the pun. Thirty guests, plus the spirit's of the Wurundjeri people, attended the civil wedding at the bandstand in Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens. Hip, hip hoorah!

As you'll have guessed Rae, Oscar and I are ensconsed in Melbourne - St Kilda, a townlet/suburb, on Port Phillip Bay. It's not quite a holiday resort but more a bohemian district that reminds me of Cambden Lock in London (and probably Greenwich Village in New York if I'd eveer been there). The pavements are full of outdoor restaurants, and the backpacker hostels are full of British and Irish layabouts.

In getting to St Kilda we drove from Mallacoota (the site of our last blog) to Lake Tyers Beach, a sleepy little sea-side town on 90 Mile Beach in East Gippsland where we overnighted at a nice little campsite that had a pool much loved by Oscar, and then on to Phillip Island.

Phillip Island is famous for two things - the motorbike grand prix track and the fairy penguin parade. We were there to see the latter of course. This involved sitting on a beach for an hour while the sun set, waiting for the smallest penguins in the world to wade ashore and head to their burrows. Oscar was more fascinated by the lady sat behind us who kept sneaking him chips!

Leaving Phillip Island we caught the Bass Highway which was the first dual carriage way I'd driven on since leaving Sydney. I was quite sad to turn off it to cut through the outer east suburbs in order to reach the house used for the TV show Kath & Kim, but the ten seconds we spent parked outside 4 Lagoon Place, Patterson Lakes was worth it. Then we strolled up the Nepean Highway to the Westfield mall used for Kath & Kim's "Fountain Lakes" shopping trips - we think we found the kitchenware store used by Trude and Pru. A little further up the Nepean we found the Buckingham Hotel, also of Kath & Kim fame. Then we turned towards the sea and drove along the esplanade that lines the bay, watching the kite boards and windsurfers streak across the water, until we reached St Kilda.

After catching up with Jason we dropped off the campervan with much relief because it was getting smaller and smaller by the day. Jason saw me back to the city centre where we went our different ways: he to finish off the wedding arrangements and me on my first tram ride ever. Back in St Kilda, Rae, Oscar and I went for a tram ride down to Luna Park (rubbish) and ate icecream (expensive) by the bay (dirty). We had a lovely walk while the sunset and then caught the tram back tothe hotel where Mr Pickle was put to bed.

The day after (i.e. the wedding day) the three of us trammed in to the CBD and visited the Immigration Museum, which should be on everyone's to do list when visiting Melbourne. I was engrossed for 2 hours learning about over 150 years of immigrants stories. Then we took ourselves on a walking tour of Melbourne - the so-called (because it is much longer than a mile) "Melbourne's Golden Mile" - which conveniently ended at Fitzroy Gardens. This left us enough time to have a cheeky peek into Captain Cook's cottage before attending the nuptials.

Again, congratulations to the happy couple!

March 19, 2009

Having a Whale Of A Time

Today was one of the longer driving days with three hours in the saddle to cover the 200 kms. After taking one last stroll down to the sea to watch the sun rise we left the Island View Beach Resort in Narooma just after breakfast and headed south. The road soon turned inland and twisted and turned its way through the highlands of southern New South Wales, which accounts for the lengthier driving time.

We broke our journey at a rest spot overlooking Bega which, judging by the deforested hills and the number of cows, appeared to an important dairy area. The vista was fantastic and well worth the time spent supping on a cup of coffee and munching the last of our TimTams.

In a town called Eden we stopped again because I had read about a whaling museum with a different take on the industry. Not that I am into whaling, but the story told at the Eden Killer Whale Museum was a very interesting and well worth reading up on if you are so inclined.

Eventually we crossed into Victoria, turned off Princes Highway and pointed ourselves towards Mallacoota where we are currently in residence. Within ten minutes of arriving we experienced the famous Aussie hospitality when our neighbours popped across to say hello - an hour later we were all firm friends. The same happened again when we went to the communal barbeque to cook our tea. We ended up spending the rest of the night chatting to two "grey nomad" couples who devote half the year touring Australia with their caravans.

I have to say I'm really enjoying Australia and the laid back way of life they have over here. So I'm thinking of tearing up the return tickets. If anyone who wants us to come back you'd better start depositing large sums of money in our bank account ;)

PS Sorry about the lame title to this post. There's no excuse for cheap humour.

March 17, 2009

Water, Water Everywhere

For the record - I have only packed a weeks worth of clothes for me and Oscar, if Jeremy has packed for a month that is his own business! And another thing - Oscar isn't precariously balanced on a tabletop to sleep (just to put your mind at rest mum). He is between the seating area, using the removed tabletop to make a flat area and wedged in so the travel cot is secure!!!

The night before we headed off down the road we took Oscar to the Sydney Aquarium. We decided to go in the evening so that it wasn't so crowded for the little man and we wouldn't have to queue! It meant that Oscar was staying up past his bedtime. On the way over to the aquarium Oz fell asleep :) We wended our way through the exhibits, looking for duck billed platypi (which were hiding), marvelling at how much the sleeping crocodile looked like it was made of plastic and thinking how we had been spoiled by the Monterey aquariums when we got down to the underwater exhibits. As we entered the dugong tanks Oscar sprang awake and started pointing and shouting at the sharks, fish and dugongs. How sailors ever mistook them for fair mermaids is still beyond me. Next we went into the deep sea underwater exhibit (didn't want to think about how many tonnes of water were pressing down on the glass at this point) where Oscar marvelled at more sharks, stingrays and a brain damaged turtle who had been hit by a boat and was bobbing around nose down.

Ozzie's very late night was the real reason for getting going late the next day as he had a lie in the next morning plus he had been rudely awoken in the night with a coughing fit (second night in a row) that saw poor old mummy soothing him back to sleep! So there!! He slept all night last night thank goodness.

Any way, we are at the next campsite somewhere in Australia :) Near Narooma as Jeremy says. We got off to a bit of a false start when we arrived as our pitch had no electricity jack for the camper van as a 'meet the Fockers' stylee wagon is taking up two pitches and has thrown all of the vans off their power points. So Jeremy had to move the camper across the way a bit.

Oscar has seen parrots in the trees here with much excitement!

As soon as we were settled and plugged in we got into our swimmers and sun block and walked down to the beach which is less than 100 metres walk from our pitch. The beach is beautiful, with white sands, very blue sea and rolling surf. You can hear the sea as we sit here in the afternoon sun. Oscar was a bit put out by the sea coming towards him so we stayed out of reach of it! At a safe distance Daddy and Oscar built a sand castle and Oscar sampled the sand for edibility. He soon discovered that there isn't much flavour to a sand castle.

On our way back to van we went and had a look at the pool and as we were already togged up we decided to take a dip. The pool is lovely and very warm. We took Oscar into the baby pool and had a splash and then we had a swim about in the infinity pool. Very nice in 25 degree sunshine. Oscar started to get tired so we brought him back to the camper and he is now sleeping off a very busy afternoon and we are drinking tea and eating TimTams.

TimTam count - 18 eaten so far.