Monthly Archives: January 2015

The Last Hoorah


It’s 26 January and Australia Day, marking the arrival of the First Fleet at Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) in 1788. The ships had set sail from England 252 days previously carrying 1,000 convicts along with officers, crew, marines, and their families. A penal colony was set up and the rest, as they say, is history.

Today, the momentous occasion is a national holiday, a get-together with rellies and mates to celebrate in style. The Australian flag is everywhere you look: flying proudly outside homes and on cars, painted on faces, arms and legs, and emblazoned on towels and beach balls.DSC_8534

The young and young-at-heart kit themselves out in rashies, boardies, sunnies and thongs, and head en masse to the beach or park. Slabs are purchased from the local bottle-o and loaded into utes, the stubbies later deposited in Eskies full of ice to keep the amber nectar cool in the scorching heat. The hungry hoardes dive into plates laden with schoolies. Barbies are lit and steak and snags thrown on to cook, which are then wrapped in a slice of bread with a squirt of tomato sauce. Accompanied by a few slices of beetroot and some avo, perhaps. And a stubby in a stubby holder, of course.

And afterwards, time to indulge in Australia’s favourite dessert: the pav, topped with whipped cream and a rainbow of fresh fruit and berries. While the kids run around with ice blocks in the warmth of the sun. It is, after all, the last hoorah before schools, and many businesses, go back after the long summer break down under.DSC_8558

Glossary (just in case)
Amber nectar: beer (essential drinking)
Avo: avocado (obviously)
Barbies: barbecues (one of many words ending in -ies in Australian English)
Boardies: boardshorts (shorts made from quick-drying fabric – just perfect for the beach)
Bottle-o: bottle shop (in Australian English, abbreviated words often end in -o, when they don’t end in -ies, that is)
Eskies: an insulated cool box (Esky is a classic brand name)
Ice Blocks: ice lollies, if you’re a Brit
Mates: friends (did you really come unstuck on this one?)
Pav: pavlova (dessert made from meringue, topped with whipped cream and fruit – the question is: did it originate in Australia, or NZ?)
Rashies: rash vests (T-shirts made from quick-drying fabric, protecting the wearer from rashes and sunburn)
Rellies: relatives
Schoolies: school prawns (great on their own or on the barbie)
Slab: case of beer (24 stubbies)
Snags: sausages
Stubbies: squat bottles of beer (as opposed to traditional bottles, which are known as ‘long-necks’)
Stubby Holder: insulated sleeve for keeping beer cool
Sunnies: sunglasses
Thongs: flip-flops, rather than skimpy underwear
Tomato sauce: not ketchup
Ute: typically, a two-door passenger vehicle with a cargo tray in the rear

Thanks Again

Last year, Ickle and I had a lot of fun making thank-you cards after Christmas. So we decided to do the same again, only differently.P1020827

Our starting point was a Paint with Water colouring book Ickle had received from the lovely Auntie A. Initially, I thought she would only have to apply water for the colours to magically appear. But actually her book contained 20 different one-page designs, each with an individual paint palette at the top (great idea and perfect for days away too). All we had to do was rip out the chosen page, fetch a paintbrush and pot of water and get to work.P1020830-001

I helped a little by dipping the paintbrush in the water between colours, and also by dabbing it in the paint, but all the brush strokes are Ickle’s own. She hasn’t quite mastered applying paint within a design, opting instead for patches of colour and the occasional long squiggle across the page. Ickle does love to paint, the only disappointment being that we didn’t have paintbrush handles to match all the colours in the palette. Things that match are very important to her at the moment.P1020821

In the interest of keeping things as simple as possible (see our Melting Snowman post for more on this), we didn’t make cards this time. Ickle painted a set of designs over the space of about a week. And I wrote thank-you messages on the back of each completed artwork, folded them into envelopes and sent them on their merry way. And that’s our Christmas thank-yous done and dusted, thank you very much.