Thursday, 30 January 2014

Eeks, another heatwave under way

Just saw the temperatures for the coming week: four days around 40 degrees. And that while we're trying to lower our energy usage - because we had a massive bill and apparently we're spending twice the amount of electricity than average. We've now got a couple of devices to track real time energy usage, so that we can figure out why we're using so much electricity. Mind you, we don't have gas, or solar panels, so all our energy consumption comes from the use of electricity. But still, twice as much as average, that's weird.

It won't be less the coming days, that's for sure.

What else...
We've had some interesting animals around the house. A koala in the big eucalyptus tree close to the back of the garden, near Nora's bedroom. It's a funny one, because it's smack in the middle of someone's backyard, so that koala must have been thinking 'that's a nice tree, let's cross the road, see if I can get into those people's garden, and then climb in that tree.' It is the closest we can get a koala, so I thought it was quite nice.

Then another day I was handling the bbq. Yes me, not the man of the house. The meat was done, and I was just about to turn off the gas, when I spotted something unusual on the knob. A spider as big as my hand! On the knob to turn the bbq off and my meat was done! And I'd just had my hand on it to turn the bbq on - where was it then, hmmm?? I got Age out of his lazy chair and had him taking care of the spider with my bbq utensil. It was a big huntsman, racing to a safer spot in the garden, nothing special...

And then yesterday we were eating our dessert in our 'outdoor entertaining area', when Age said 'look, there's a tail coming out of the bbq'. Yeah, that bbq, just standing there attracting wildlife. So I looked and yes, from behind the screen that's hiding the gas bottle from view there was this curly monkey-like tail. And curling and uncurling its tail. Very strange. Upon careful closer inspection we found out we had a little possum sitting there! Not sure what it was doing there, and later, when we all went inside and Age had another look it was gone.

Eventful, eh?

The good life in the garden on my birthday. I got a new baby bath and croquet!

Missy in her tent

Tipping things out of containers is now her big thing, so I spend my days filling her bucket with toys, and then Nora empties it and throws everything away in a wide circle around her.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

And it't hot: 45 degrees

This heatwave is starting to become quite amazing. Today in town it was 45 degrees, and tomorrow and Thursday it'll be even hotter! We even had a few thunderstorms, doing nothing much to bring the temperature down. But it came with rain, which is always good. They are a bit tricky, because of the 30.000 flashes and subsequent fire danger. Wild winds too, and I saw a car with a huge 20-cm thick branch straight through its windscreen on my way back home. There was only one other car on the side of the road, so that must have happened just in front of me. I'm always a bit scared of those eucalyptus trees, they are known for dropping branches out of the blue.

During the day the temperatures soar, and you'd expect some relief in the evening, but that's not the case. Our night temperatures at the moment hover around the thirty degrees, so the air conditioning is running overtime. And when you then get up in the morning and go out the door you'd sort of expect fresh and crisp morning air, but are faced with heat instead. Luckily we've got a good car, so driving around is not a problem. But I've seen people in old cars with the windows rolled down, the odd person on a bicycle, and motorbikes. Madness.

In the office it's all fine, you wouldn't know that there is a heatwave. Until later in the afternoon, when the outside walls start to radiate heat. Another tell-tale is the low humidity, which is always a bit hard on the eyes. My hair goes static too, and I'm thirsty all the time.

Since my previous rant about childcare centres, Nora has made a few huge jumps forward, even seeming to enjoy her days. Amazing, isn't it? Gives me a lot more peace of mind.

Sunday, 12 January 2014

We're in for a heatwave

Five days of 40 degrees or higher coming up, starting tomorrow. It makes me sweat already. Tomorrow is also the day which has been somewhere in my mind for the last eight months, sometimes in the back, sometimes more in the forefront: I'm going back to work. My maternity leave is over. I'm ready to shift the focus a bit, but I'm still not ready for Nora in a childcare centre, and I think I will never believe in the concept of a creche for the under-threes. Overcrowded cattle stations.
It doesn't help that Nora isn't convinced either, and we've had to pick her up early each single day she's been thus far. She also picked up a bout of diarrhea and gave that to me, meaning that I've spent almost all of last week in bed with a fever followed by.. you know what. And now she also has a green snotty runny nose, her first, and when she eats she rattles because of the mucous build-up. Thirty percent more ill, they say, when your child goes to a centre. 'All very common. Your child is building her immunity. Your child will love the interaction'.

Yeah, right. My nose.

So we're working on Plan B now.

With all this loose poo flying around we were a bit more house-bound than we would have liked the last two weeks, but we've seen loads of tennis on the tv and enjoyed our garden and the house. I also joined the golfclub again, and played once. After six holes the rain and wind set in, we were soaked within a minute and decided with the full group to call it a day, go home, have a shower and return to a cafe for lunch.

Sunshine on the lawn. Finally unwrapped the umbrella, which has been in bubble wrap since our departure of The Netherlands in 2006. It's a bit low, because I couldn't find the holder, which also has a large part of the pole attached.
Eeks, Nora waking up right now... Sleeping has become a bit more challenging, because she is suddenly able to roll over and over and over. But she can only roll in one direction, meaning that she can't roll back if she gets stuck on her belly or wedged against the side of her cot. And that means crying :-)
Other than that she usually is a good sleeper, she didn't even wake up last night from one idiot somewhere further up the hill who decided it was a great idea to start jamming on an electric guitar at 11.30pm. When this ridiculous noise didn't stop, we rang the police to lodge a noise complaint. What's wrong with some people?

Earlier that day Age commented on the large number of idiots / assholes we seem to encounter here:

  • on the boundary of a a 'dog on the leash / dog off the leash'-area on the beach: people who let their dogs run free while the 'dog off the leash' area hasn't started yet. Age told a lady off who clearly didn't have her dog under control, and of course the lady was very 'surprised' and reassured us that she 'had her dog under total control'.
  • people who really shouldn't be driving at all, which is half of the population. What we see all the time is people crossing the centre line, and tailgating. The other day we had a car, again, driving so close up our backs, that Age just stopped the car in the middle of the road, got out, walked up to the car behind us, who stood patiently waiting, and had a go a the lady driver. She said sorry and we never saw her again.
  • More on the beach: two men who started kicking a football right next to us. Of course at some point hitting Age. Better than hitting Nora though.
  • Even more on the beach: father and son playing cricket in a 'crowded' area on the beach (between the flags). We walk past and when we are straight behind them the son throws his ball to dad, which is our direction. I mean, we are walking with a baby on the arm. Assholes.
  • All those people ( the other half of the population) who let their dog bark in the garden, day in day out.
Sounds all a bit grumpy, doesn't it? Maybe I need to eat something :-)

What's in store the coming time? Back to work, sorting out childcare, Age's got a few trips here and there, and organising a housewarming party.

Before I forget, we also met Aart and Else, who are holidaying in Australia and driving an enormous amount of kilometers with a rented hippie van. We did some koala sightseeing for our tourists, and found lots of them along a proven koala road. But the best one sat in the middle of Stirling!
In Stirling for lunch. Nora couldn't get used to Else unfortunately, which wasn't very handy if you're out together. Photo courtesy of Aart.

Big koala hanging on a tree and climbing up. Photo made by Aart.