Saturday, April 24, 2010

Spring Fever

It was Wald Woche at Mads' kindergarten last week, which meant they spent every morning in the nearby woods. Mads, despite a firmly-held love of sticks and a new-found passion for the Faraway Tree books was not keen on Wood Week and protested loudly each morning as we headed off. So on Friday she said she didn't feel well ("my eyebrows hurt...") I assumed it was a wood-avoidance technique and used the very same lines used on me all those years ago by my own mother: 'Well, get up and see how you feel after breakfast" - the follow-up to this being "Well, you're up now so you may as well go." A magic, unbeatable technique. I didn't have a single day off school until I was 14.

When Thieu picked Mads up after lunch she silently wrapped her arms around his neck and put her head on his shoulder. Oops. The eyebrow ache had developed into a headache, her cheeks were pink and hot. She had a feverish sleep last night, calling out strange, random things like 'But I must get to the boat!' and around 1 am she held out some invisible item of clothing and asking me to assist her putting it on. Consequently I have spent most of the last 24 hours either reading or patting (and of course, adjusting the invisible clothing).

While she was dozing yesterday afternoon I sat on her floor and made the little characters in the photo above, being deeply inspired by this blog post. My idea was originally that Mads and I would do them together, but she's not up for it right now.

Outside it's glorious. In here the shutters are closed and the kid is asleep.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Is there a nicer person in the world than Sally Rippin? Seriously, I think you'd be hard pressed to find one. When I heard about the new series she was writing for Hardie Grant called Billie B Brown I knew I needed it. I had planned to buy it during our Oz visit next month but Sally beat me to it. A set of Billie B arrived in the mail today. Such happiness! Thanks Sally. I already love them and I know Mads will too.

There are a few other books I need to pick up when in Oz. My sister Hilary's new series, Space Scout, for one. And also Ebony McKenna's book Ondine. My own bookish news is that the first of my Tweenie Genie books has been picked up by a German publisher and will be released, fully-translated and re-illustrated (in a more German style) in Spring 2011. Most exciting and good.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Something Missing

The air traffic in Frankfurt is so constant that you don't notice it most of the time - except maybe on very clear, blue days if you glance up and see the sky completely criss-crossed with contrails. From our dining room window we can see a constant stream of planes - as one leaves the right-hand side another appears at the left. So it was strange looking out the window on Friday morning and not seeing a single plane anywhere. I had a brief moment of claustrophobia, and then I just enjoyed looking at the smooth, perfect sky.

The weekend was fine and we spent most of it outside, in our upstairs neighbour's Schrieber Garten on Saturday and walking to a beer garden in the forest on Sunday. What we kept noticing was the silence - no rumble of planes except for the occasional whirr of a light aircraft.

At the end of our forest day today as we neared the tram there was a familiar noise above - 747 approaching Frankfurt. It looked strangely unfamiliar and wrong.

We enjoyed the quiet and the perfect blue skies for three days - but at the same time I am hoping we will have no troubles getting to Australia in early May.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Hysterical Towns

Yesterday we arrived back from a ten day Easter trip around what is known at the 'Romantic Road.' This includes a number of historic towns such as Dinkelbuhl, Rothenburg and Augsburg. We also went to Fussen so we could visit Castle Neuschwanstein as Mads has been bitterly disappointed by the broken-down, crumbly castles we've dragged her to so far. No kid could argue with the castley-ness of Neuschwanstein. You can see it behind our heads in the photo above. I'm not quite sure why Mads and I are pulling those faces. I think perhaps Mads is yawning. And maybe mine was meant to mean 'You really think I'm going to get this kid to walk up there?' Or maybe it's a hangover from when I travelled around Europe with Shell. She often used to convince me to copy the expressions of statues or monuments we saw, then she'd take a photo. So maybe I just don't feel right unless I'm doing something dumb in a picture.

As we headed home yesterday Thieu said 'I don't ever want to see another historical town again.' And I had to agree with him. Once you've walked around one for a while and gone 'isn't it quaint?' and 'aren't the doors low?' a few hundred times you start getting bored. So then you have a bad coffee served to you by a grumpy-looking woman in a dirndl. And you stare at wrought-iron pot-plant holders shaped like cats or dogs with springs for necks in the shops and wonder, both silently and aloud about who would ever buy such a thing. Especially in a historical town. Then you wander past a torture museums and insist that your family pose for a photograph, even though there's no way you're going in. Because why should you be the only one photographically humiliated for posterity? I told them to pull 'baddie' faces for the shot below. Mads, as you can see, took this direction very seriously. It looks like her face is imploding from the badness, don't you think?

I had a shocking schnupfen for most of the time too, so although it was nice to have a holiday, it was very very nice to return home. It was especially nice to see these appearing everywhere:

Thank God.