Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Womb Trailer

Here is the trailer for the movie the kids were involved with earlier this year by Benedek Fliegauf.
At the end of the trailer you can see the back of the kids in the grey choir gowns, and hear them singing...

We are very proud parents!!!

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Back to Berlin

Back to Berlin, on a 747-400 this journey.

After going through customs, we went to the Qantas lounge. The staff offered us a "suite", so the kids could spread out a bit ,and gave them some games and things to do. Cameron wanted to play games on the computer.

Our flight was delayed 1 and a 1/2 hours (much better than last years 24 hour delay). The crew loaded on an extra 4,000 litres of fuel, so we could speed up a bit to get to Singapore on time.
During the flight, Alexander was studying the flight plan map on the TV screen, and studying the Qantas magazine about the 747-400. He noticed that the highest speed in the magazine was 920 kph...but when looked on the TV screen we were going 948 kph. When one of the flight attendants came past he asked her how we were going that fast if the magazine said it only went 920 kph. She told him that she had no idea, but she would ask the captain when she went upstairs to ask the captain to fill out their log books.

1/2 hour later, the captain came downstairs, returned the log books and sat with Alexander explain why we were going so fast. The captain explained how the wind was helping us and the extra fuel that was loaded on, and the speed in the magazine was only the average speed they fly. Alexander was happy!

We thanked the captain for explaining it to our aeroplane fanatic, and he said that once we landed in Singapore to send the kids up and they could come into the cockpit for a look, and don't forget the camera!

So, pilot hat, headphones on, hand on the throttle...what more could a plane obsessed kid dream of (except actually flying the plane)

This is one of the reasons I love flying with Qantas...the staff are always so terrific with our children!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Walking Rosie

We took Rosie for lots of walks when we were in Melbourne.

Alexander and Cameron love holding the lead and taking her for a run in the park.
When we got to a playground the boys would give the lead to Nicole, and she would continue walking around the playground with Rosie while the boys played.

We made up the rule, that if you are holding the lead when she does a poo....you have to pick it up in the doggy poo bag.

Somehow, the rule never worked and it was left up to Nicole to pick it up and carry it to the doggy bin.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Glider Fun

This glider was great fun to play with down at Wombat Bend Park.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Cameron's 9th Birthday

Cameron's 9th birthday! Where does the time go?
We had this birthday cake at Granma and Grampa's place, before we came back to Melbourne. Delicious chocolate cake with freckles and yellow 100's and 1000's.

Then we go to Nana and Pa's and have more cake!

Little cupcakes in the shape of a 9

Friday, 14 August 2009

Melbourne Aquarium

Nana took the boys to the Aquarium, while Phil and I did some paperwork stuff.
A Shark swimming behind. They watched the sharks being fed, a snappeer swam past at the wrong time and shark bit him, instead of the squid he was supposed to be eating! Opps!
Look at the size of this stingray!!!
Some Green Tree Frogs
A Port Jackson Shark egg
Strange sculptures
The colourful coral in the large tank.
A Swell Shark Egg

Thursday, 13 August 2009


We spent a week at Bright with Phil's parents. The kids love taking Benson for a walk with Granma, riding the bikes and scooters, and getting down the back of the property and playing in the bush.

Whatever the kids are doing, you can be sure Benson is not too far away!

Monday, 3 August 2009

New Toys R Us

A new Toys R us opened at Shoppingtown, and we happened to be there when some of the characters were around.

Mr Monopoly
The kids really wanted a photo with the Star Wars characters. (Always handy to have my little camera in my handbag).

A Storm Trooper

Jenga Fett
I really wanted them to have a photo of Elmo....Cameron is too cool for Elmo, so he said "If you want a photo of Elmo, you get in there, and I will take the photo"
So, after shoving some 3 and 4 year olds out of the way, I got my photo.

(I didn't really push the kids out the way, I waited my turn very patiently)

Saturday, 1 August 2009

A visit to Ypres, Belgium. W.E. Boase, Lest We Forget

During the course at INSEAD, I had the opportunity to visit Ypres, in Belgium. The course was in Fontainebleau, just south of Paris. Luckily, one of my new friends, Yves, was heading to the Belgian coast to visit his family, and was passing Ypres on his way. He dropped me off after a 3 hour car journey late on Saturday afternoon, with a promise that he would pick me up late on Sunday afternoon. This would give me roughly 24 hours in Ypres and the surrounding area, which would give me the opportunity to pay respects to my great grandfather, who died there in 1917.
"AIF 28. Boase W.E 6047. September 28th 1917.

Boase came over with me from Australia. He was a widower with 2 children. On the 28th September we went over at Polygon Wood, at dawn. Our objective was Broodseinde ridge. Boase was the first man to reach the ridge. Later the same morning I was about 50 yards from Boase when a shell fell close to him. I saw fragments of his body but there was no time to bury him as the Bosch were counterattacking and the shells were falling all around.

L/C H. Manson 6034. 1 Can. Gen Hp. "

Ypres is a small town that was the centre of a lot of action on the Western front. It formed a 'Salient' - or a natural incursion into the opposition territory because of its geographical features. It is a walled town that sits on an S-shape on a river, which meant that the geography and features made it a place of interest for both sides, and the war raged back and forth with the front line moving to and from Ypres many times.

Today the town of Ypres recognises the fallen soldiers of the First World War with the playing of the Last Post under the Menin Gate - a massive memorial at the edge of town that has over 55,000 names of fallen soldiers who were lost and have no known grave. It was built at the exit to the town that the soldiers passing out of Ypres would use to progress toward the front.

My aim in visiting Ypres was to see the town and the museum, and to hear the Last Post at the Menin Gate, then walk the battlefields to see where William had been killed.

I checked into the hotel first, and then toured the local museum. I walked the short distance to the Menin Gate and spent some time trying to locate William's name. For a while I was worried that it wasnt going to be there, but then on a panel on the stairs, on the left hand outer side of the memorial, I discovered his batallion and his name. This was a powerful experience for me, as I am a strong believer in family, and family history, and I know that I am the only relative from my family to visit in over 90 years.

Memorial Book at the Menin Gate

I walked around town, had a small meal, and returned for the playing of the Last Post. I was surprised by the crowds, and the number of soldiers. A platoon of British soldiers blocked each end of the gate, and a brass band was set up. As it turned out, the Saturday that I chose to vist Ypres was the day that they were also remembering the passing of the oldest survivor of the First World War, Harry Patch ('the last fighting Tommy'). The brass band played, a few speeches were made, wreaths were laid, and then the local fire brigade played the last post. It was very powerful, and very moving.

Early the next morning I took a taxi out to Tyne Cot Cemetery. It is the largest Commonwealth Cemetery in Europe. Apart from all of the headstones, it also contains a memorial wall with another 30,000 name of soldiers lost without identified graves. I was there alone in the early morning. It was going to be a warm day, and I could feel the heat in the sun even at this early hour.

After spending some time at Tyne Cot, I started walking. A short distance away was the first memorial - to the 'road to Paschendale'. I then walked to Broodseinde, where William was killed. Using old WWI battle maps from the days when William was there, I was able to stand on the ridge, and look back to where he went 'over'.

I could see from the maps and the lie of the land the most probable place where William would have died.

Right nearby was a small patch of wild poppies. I picked a couple, to take back to the Menin Gate.

I continued my walk. I walked down the country lanes to Polygon Wood, then back to the Menin Road and back to Ypres via the Menin Gate. This is, in essence, the opposite way that William would have travelled. He was in Ypres and on the front for only one day.

For me it was a 15-20km stroll, in the middle of Summer, through lovely rolling Belgian countryside. For William, it would have been completely different - mud and water. Shell craters, duck boards, trenches and dead bodies. He would have gone over as the sun rose, to bravely take the ridge, and then die for the effort. After this, the Germans pushed the front line back, and the gains were lost. Still, I am proud of what he achieved.

When I arrived back at the Menin Gate, I placed the poppies on the wall next to his name, and spent some time reflecting. It was a powerful visit, and time to say goodbye to William, and the other soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
As planned, Yves picked me up on his way through Ypres, and we had a relaxed trip back to Fontanebleau. This was a trip I had long planned to take, and was very pleased that I could make it happen.

RIP William Boase. Lest We Forget.