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gantGin and tonic and I go back a long way. My first G and T, I’ll have you know, was taken on the balcony of the Serena Mountain Lodge in Kenya, at dusk, as a family of elephants took their evening libations. I was seventeen years old. Doesn’t that sound like a terribly sophisticated set-up? It really wasn’t. I’d just spent three days driving around Nairobi, all the while throwing up out of the car window or into my father’s terry towelling hat, from a combination of period pain and teenage angst, and was then offered an alcoholic beverage by my parents. My drinking experience at that point consisting of the occasional half-glass of wine at the family table or Brandy Alexanders at the bar of the Intercontinental Hotel (no one ever checked our IDs there), I ordered what everyone else was having. I drank my gin and tonic with the grownups and promptly fell asleep, thereby missing out on seeing all the baby rhinos and cavorting lions that visited the waterhole beside the hotel later that evening. But a love affair with a cocktail was nonetheless born that night.

As much as I love a gin and tonic I am surprisingly unfussy about how they are prepared. As long as it has gin and tonic water in it, I’ll drink it. Continue Reading »

tupperwareWe’ve had a spate of rainy days in the last few weeks, which means May Blossom has spent less time in the backyard ostensibly decorating the bricks with pavement chalk but really improvising the face make-up of the characters from Cats on herself and her brother, and more time inside immersing herself in imaginary worlds. Some of these imaginary worlds are fantastic: ‘The Witch in the Woods’, for example, or ‘Castle Doctors’ (tending to people who have been run through with lances, or have splinters from battering rams, or have burns from boiling oil). Continue Reading »

The Lucky Country

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It’s the Monday night of the Australia Day long weekend, and I’m watching my daughter jump on our rusty mini-tramp while my son steams around the backyard being deeply fascinated by everything from a plastic Ikea plate to the discarded paper lanterns they just peeled off the gooseberries I picked from my mother’s vegetable garden. May Blossom is telling me about a ladybird couple called Florence and Boris and Garnet is asking for ‘Dat’, which is his word of preference at the moment. When he needs to be more specific he says ‘Dat dat’.

This weekend we’ve been, once again, with my parents in the country. It was, on balance, wonderful, despite my several early evening meltdowns, during which I hysterically cried that I CANNOT DO THIS ANYMORE and I NEED SOME SLEEP and PUT ON YOUR OWN PYJAMAS YOU ARE THREE YEARS OLD FOR GOD’S SAKE and generally behaved in a mean and distressing way to everyone around me, and then tried to breastfeed Garnet to sleep like always, only to find that his late catnap meant he only wanted to blow raspberries on my tummy and laugh like a drain. Then I stomped downstairs and cried while he shouted in his cot, and it made everything feel a hundred times worse.

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hugsHappy New Year from the House of Gusto, where we specialise in creating problems for ourselves, and then complaining about them! This year has kicked off in fine style, with a wonderful country holiday featuring daily trips to swim in the sea, huge and delicious meals with friends and restful afternoons on the verandah.  A perfect life, you might say, if not for the issues of Sleep and Cats.

Why the italics, you might ask. What has Gusto done to merit that? Nothing. Gusto is being an exemplary feline. It is the jellicle cats that are the problem around here. The cats created by T. S. Eliot in his 1939 book of poems Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and made more annoying to the power of infinity by Andrew Lloyd-Webber in 1981. You see, about three months ago May Blossom, Garnet and I tagged along with Other Jess to a Year 6 Production of Cats at the school where she works. It was pretty amazing. And just like that it became, like Singin’ in the Rain and before that the song ‘1234’ by Feist, a complete obsession for May Blossom. Continue Reading »

Flat-packed

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So sweet, you’d never know they have tiny ear canals brimming with filth and germs. Nor that the one on the right is about to throw up in that car seat.

My big brother emailed me today with two queries. ‘When you gonna blog again?’ and ‘How’s your wedding Adirondacks?’ The second question is easier to answer. The Adirondacks to which he refers so grammatically incorrectly are two chairs that he gave H and me for our wedding present. We got married in April 2009. He dropped off the chairs yesterday. They are flat-packed and likely to remain so until we achieve a vomit-free week in this household.

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Does Gin Sink?

IMG_5268It’s Sunday evening, and I just discovered that according to Google, no-one else, ever, has had occasion to search for the phrase ‘Does gin sink?’ What a strange world this is.

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nearly 3-1

Tomorrow is May Blossom’s third birthday. If you’d asked me three years ago what I thought my life might look like now, I would have looked at you like you were crazy, because I now realise I never really looked much further than a few days ahead.

Pregnant, I could only focus on the birth. Once I had a newborn I couldn’t picture her as a toddler. As a toddler I couldn’t picture her as a pre-schooler. When I was pregnant with Garnet I couldn’t see how I could ever love another baby. Until a few weeks ago I couldn’t picture ever being able to work again for money. But lo and behold, here I find myself, 20 hours short of three years into this mothering business, and this morning, while my daughter rather too expertly navigates her way around ABC’s catch-up channel on the iPad, her 10-month-old brother naps in the pram, and I sit in the window seat writing this, I have already worked for three hours. It is 9.15.* Continue Reading »

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