Vladimir Putin is a vampire

So as you know Vladimir Putin is Russia’s Prime Minister.

Sadly my daughter didn’t and when she saw the name Vladimir she immediately thought “head vampire”.

As you would, given her classic education which included the Twilight series.

And you know… she’s 12.

We were playing the Name Game – have you played it?

It’s a classic parlour game.

First everyone writes down about ten names on slips of paper and puts them in the middle – you want 60-80 names.

The names can be famous or just famous to you.

You nearly always get Adolf Hitler and Margaret Thatcher but once a friend of Groover’s put in the entire 1973 line up of Leeds United.

I don’t recommend that.


Anyway once the names are in, divide into teams… and you take turns to pick up slips of paper and try and get your team-mates to tell you the name on the slip of paper.

You get one minute per turn.

You have four rounds of play:

First round you can use as many words as you like to describe the person without using initials etc… so for Vladimir for example – you might say “Russian Prime Minister… no not Medvedev… this guy was president before Medvedev… he’s quite good looking, fit guy… actually so is Medvedev… his last name is the opposite of takeout… etc.”

Second round you have three words:  For example “Russian Prime Minister”  or as my darling daughter said “Head vampire man”.

Third round you have one word:  eg “Russian” although in our game we said “vampire”.

And finally in the fourth round – no words, just actions. 

You can imagine the actions we had!

So you can see that sometimes it’s better NOT to know who the name is.

I remember my brother once referring to Bronwyn Bishop (Liberal politician) as “some churchy chick”.

I never looked at her the same way again.

All of this is to say that it was a lovely weekend down in Dunsborough.

Good friends, fine wine and of course the name game!

And who knows… maybe Vladimir Putin IS a vampire?

Drama queen

This would be my daughter.

She is currently in the middle of a drama festival at the school and we are hosting three girls from the French International School in Hong Kong.

It is an interesting experience.

They are very sweet girls.

Very polite.


I’ve never hosted before so it has been a learning curve.

I’ve discovered that all children like Coco Pops and that there are some kids who like fruit as much as my two fruit bats.

Does the fact that I bought them Coco Pops make me a bad host mother?

I did offer them a cooked breakfast.

Of course once a kid sees Coco Pops they can’t go past them.

Actually, I’d prefer muesli please is not something you are going to hear if a packet of sugar is on the table.

They are very self sufficient.

My daughter got up this morning before me and organised breakfast.

All I ended up doing was loading the dishwasher and accepting their thanks.

Er… no problem.

Then they walked to school (we don’t live far away).

Job done.

Tonight we’re going to their performance and then taking them out for dinner and a bit of sightseeing.

Goodness knows where.

Anyone got any scathingly brilliant ideas?

I confess, this is the bit I’ve been worried about the most all weekend.

A wee trowel

Hasn’t it been hot?!

43 degrees on Sunday – and Groover and I in an non air-conditioned hall doing a Theatresports workshop – great fun but you know… hot.

Afterwards we sank gratefully into our pool which, in the nearly 12 years since we’ve lived in this house, has never been used so much.

No.  Not even when the kids were little.

Yesterday it was 44 degrees.

Commuting isn’t quite so much fun when it is that hot, and me, wearing in my new boots (see photo above).



My red sweaty face panting up the hill with my clumpy boots stomping along the pavement.

And of course the train was delayed.

Today is hot… and humid.

38 degrees.

Too hot to feel hungry, but I’m worried.

Next week I head to York for my archeological dig. Remember that?

I have my boots (as discussed), the tiniest of trowels – isn’t it cute – and The Archeologist’s Field Handbook which is now my constant companion.

Already I’ve learned some useful stuff like:

How to work out where north is from an analogue watch

  1. Point the number 12 on your watch towards the sun
  2. North will always lie mid-way between the hour hand and the number 12
  3. Obviously this isn’t going to work when the sun is directly overhead or during the night

See – you knew it was worth reading this post today didn’t you?

Next time you’re lost in the bush without a compass – think of me.

Well… think of me when you make it to safety using the analogue watch method.

If you have a digital watch… I can’t help you – you eighties retro you!

Anyway as I was saying, I’m worried.

Worried that it will be unbearably hot.

40 degrees I can handle for a day or two, 44 is getting ridiculous.

Fingers crossed for a cool change.

Old books and old friends

If you see me commuting by train this week – oh yes, I’m a train commuter now – you’ll spot me reading an ancient book my mother owned.

Billabong’s Daughter by Mary Grant Bruce.

I love the Billabong books but these days they are a bit politically incorrect.

Make that very non PC and I think the newer editions have been… sanitised.

It’s about a station in northern Victoria (I think) just after the First World War and the story is about the squatter Jim Linton and his family.

They act like the upper class might in England, dispensing largess to the lesser well off or should that be ‘orf’.

Far different to squatters of today who (for the most part) are the lesser well off.

There’s lots of cattle mustering and you do get a feel for the country back at the turn of the last century.

They are… quaint… I guess and part of the attraction to me is the fact that my mum used to love them when she was a gel.

Commuting with Billabong has been great so far, although the walk home can be a bit warm.

The five day liquid only diet has come to an end.

I’m not sure I’ll willingly do it again.

It hasn’t been too hard in terms of keeping to the apple juice/ginger root three hourly drinks (bleah) but it is boring drinking liquids all the time.

And I don’t think I’ve lost any weight which I’m disappointed in. I rather hoped I might kick off my new year a bit slimmer. Sigh.

Work has been busy but I must confess sitting the heat out in office air-conditioning has been pleasant.

On the last Sunday before I had to go back to work I went out for drinks at Salt, down at Port Beach with some friends.

The liquid-only diet doesn’t preclude alcohol but I did limit myself to just the one beer. 🙂

We met this couple nearly ten years ago in Bali – we scabbed a lift to Club Med with them – and since then we’ve become close friends.

Salt is great on a sunny Sunday afternoon. They have someone singing… the food is (looks) great and the beer is cold.

They style themselves as a nano-brewery and I tried the wheat beer – the Heifweisen (or something like that).

I enjoyed it.

Next time I want to try the pizza.

Pylon wars

It’s the first day of my holidays and to make it feel like a holiday and not just a weekend, instead of a walk by the beach I insisted we swim around the Cottesloe pylon.

I needed to feel sand between my toes and have the sharp bite* of the Indian Ocean wake me up.

But a shock was in store…


Those hooligans from North Cottesloe surf lifesaving club had been up to mischief!

You might remember not that long ago I commented on the fact that the pylon had finally been repaired.

Here it is in all it’s glory back in October:


Note the Cottesloe Surf Lifesaving club colours of yellow and black.


I wonder how long it will take them to paint the blue and white of North Cottesloe over.

Meantime, we swam around the pylon. It was low tide and wasn’t quite the workout I had expected.

I can tell you that both the repair job and the paint job are not so flash from the other side.

* Not a literal bite obviously although that’s not an implausible conclusion. The area is known for it’s Great White attacks…

What is a kibitzer?


For the first time EVER in all the years I’ve gone to quiz nights.

There has been a question about bridge.

And I knew the answer.

And we came second overall.

No.  It wasn’t one answer that got us second place but gee it sure felt good.

Thanks for inviting us Feline… 🙂

But here’s a weird thing…

Today looking at my Twitter feed I noticed that hazelblackberry was at the same quiz nite!  (her blog)

It makes me wonder how often that happens…

Can’t be that often I wouldn’t have thought.

When two worlds collide eh?

Perth is a small place.

Mulled wine and fried mice

Just back from Europe

Groover and I ventured down to Clancy’s to catch up with some friends who are freshly returned from their first trip to Europe.

I thought they had been rather carefree and adventurous by not planning every step of their journey.  It seemed to me romantic to head off, backpacks at the ready, but Feline said she wouldn’t do it again.

“Who wants to spend your precious holiday in an internet cafe planning and booking the next leg?”  She said.

Well… quite.

They would have spent more time in Amsterdam and less in Prague.

They found a fabulous two room hotel in a little town near the border of Spain and France.

Jealous jealous jealous.

Feline and I imbibe mulled wine.

Mulled wine was on the menu along with chips and something called “fried mice” – jalopeno chillis deep fried.

I wasn’t keen on coming back to Clancy’s (the restaurant with the relaxed attitude to people changing nappies at the table… ewww), but it’s one of the few places where you can get mulled wine and it is delicious.

Although I did feel a little queasy after the second glass… that could have been the chips…

St Patrick’s at night.

Afterwards, as we walked past St Patrick’s Catholic Cathedral, I was glad I had found my camera. Not quite the Duomos of Italy perhaps but quite picturesque all the same.

The sharks at Blackwell Reach


A lot of people go diving off Blackwell Reach – or at least they used to – it’s very deep.

There are rumours of large river sharks that live down there.

I imagine the visibility is a little “confronting”, but maybe that just means ignorance is bliss.

Anyway my morning walk meandered down to Chidley Point, which is a delightful picnic spot in Mosman Park opposite the reach.

It was a still, quiet morning.


Until the power boats cranked up. 

I reckon, about 10am, EVERYONE is going to Rottnest. The last fine Sunday before the rain starts maybe?



Anyway, I’m standing there, wondering about the sharks and whether or not they hang out at Blackwell Reach to get down below all the power boats when…


I love Perth.

There’s something special about seeing dolphins on your morning walk, don’t you think?

UPDATE: I just found out that the cliffs of Blackwell Reach is one of two locations that are part of Earth Cache in Western Australia. My sister is going to the Connecticut ones at the moment and inspired me to find out where they are in WA.

The other one is in the Yalgorup National Park – just south of Mandurah.

Cottesloe Sculpture by the Sea 2009

We wandered around the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition, too early to buy a program, which, if I’m honest I wouldn’t have bought anyway because it cost $8 and that seems a bit rich, wondering which piece the council were going to buy.

I love walking past the sculptures from earlier years and it feels like one day walking around the suburb will be like visiting a permanent sculpture gallery.

This year, and probably because my son is so into civil aviation, I especially liked the Runway series. Below you see Barcelona, Anchorage and Shark Bay runways as art.

LOL at Shark Bay.




This is Ben Juniper’s Orchid.


This one is looking past one onto another.

(See, if I’d had the program I could have been more descriptive. Sorry for being tight.)


And one more… in the background look for the floating sculpture (for you M).


There’s something about viewing art on the beach – it’s a bit like seeing art in the wild, as if you happen upon it in its natural setting.

If you think of an art gallery as being a zoo, Sculpture by the Sea is like going on safari.

Now where’s my pith helmet…

More photos

When the surf is smokey


It wasn’t that long ago that Perth was surrounded by bushfires – or at least it felt that way. The sky was overcast with smoke.

And yet I still didn’t “get it” when I saw the sign until I was well past it on my morning walk.

Which is why I took this next photo:


I wanted to see what the lifeguards thought smokey surf looked like.

Turns out they were just being witty.


Good luck for those of you in the extreme fire danger zones this weekend.