The Annual March of the Grandchildren

2015-01-20 Symbio Zoo 137

Nonna, if I look cute will you feed me again? Meerkat imitating the look of hungry grandchild . . .

The six week Australian summer school holidays are at an end, and all our grand-kidlets are back in their respective cubby-holes for another term. Once again, we managed to have visits where they tagged each other: at first two, joined by the next two, then three went, and then there was one, until finally none. When they are all here, it is like a chorus from Ten Green Bottles, with kids literally hanging off the walls and sharing beds. But we wouldn’t have it any other way. Well, I would – but partially geography, and partially availability, means the visits always get sandwiched into January.

They are not really kids any more, so we can count ourselves lucky if they still want to come and visit Nonna and Pa in the upcoming years. Three are in high school, with the eldest of them now starting senior school (two years here), and then, scores willing – off to university. And she just got her driver’s learning permit. Watch out!

It was an action packed time, with lots of sun and water, at the beach, the swimming pool, and all day at a local water theme park. Actually, I had a ball at that one too! I rode the various water slides, and had two goes using a toboggan bobsled on metal rails (the only dry activity). Then there were visits to a local zoo, and twice to the movies. As luck would have it though, for Australia Day (26th January), the weather turned cool, and the evening fireworks were almost obliterated by rain.

We took heaps of photos, but I am reluctant to post photos without their parents knowledge, so here are some alternatives . . . Hope you enjoy . . .

This is a THONG (not a flip-flop)

This is a THONG (not a flip-flop)

And this is a thing throwing contest on Australia Day

And this is a THONG throwing contest on Australia Day

And this is Kidlets #3 and #4 saying good-bye to Wollongong until the next time

And this is Kidlets #3 and #4 saying good-bye to Wollongong until the next time

Fireworks in a hazy rain

Fireworks in a hazy rain

24 thoughts on “The Annual March of the Grandchildren

  1. Pingback: Wollongong Ambassadors Welcome Radiance of the Seas | The Reluctant Retiree

  2. Pingback: Staying Connected to the Grandchildren in the “Real World” | The Reluctant Retiree

  3. I have to agree…grand-mothering is a fabulous pastime! Such a different world view we get from their young lives. Sometimes I wonder how I missed some of this when I was busy raising their parents!!

    Like

    • I have just responded to Kate, not sure if you will catch up with that. On first publication, I had a typo – “thing” throwing contest. My friend rang me and said she had been throwing some things around also, hahahha. Yep, thongs versus g-strings versus flip flops, are just some of our differences. Not sure if it is in your demographic, but when I first arrived in England in 1978 and got a job in a family planning clinic, and was introduced to Durex – well, all I’m saying is . . . that is a brand of sticky tape in Australia . . . . I thought to myself, “I heard the NHS was in financial trouble – but, really, sticky tape is going to do . . . what?”

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ah my dear. You have so much ahead of you yet. I am excited for you. A young girl, intelligent, aware, willing to learn and absorb all that life has to offer. No doubt you will find your way to Australia in time. Perhaps you will come here in triumph, a renowned and demanded operatic singer, like Nellie Melba in reverse . . . perhaps they will name a dessert in your honour . .. giggle . . that’s a reference to Peach Melba. Another Australianism. Seriously, if you find yourself coming this way, you must let me know. You may, in time, take advantage of the working holiday 12 month visa for under 30 year olds . . .

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Trips to the movies – I hope it was ones that you enjoyed too! I remember the relief when my daughter turned 15 and we could go and see some more challenging fare. However, being ultimately contrary beings we recently chose to go and see ‘Paddington’ and to my amazement there wasn’t a single child in the audience! Love the meerkats and parrots, not sure about the croc. Agnes

    Like

    • I have to confess to poetic licence. In fact, Bill took the kidlets off while I slaved away at my manuscript. I was on a deadline to get it back to the publisher (yes!) in response to their editor’s comments. However! I really want to see Paddington, and I do enjoy the Pixar movies. The movies Bill watched seemed interesting also. They all went to see Into The Woods, and Bill said it was very good. I have seen the shorts, and it looks watch-able. Then on another occasion, they were able to split into two groups, the girls went to see whatever Night at the Museum sequel they are up to, and Bill and the boys went to see a new release Australian flick: Paper Planes. Apparently, very good. And you probably know some Aussie films can be so cringe-worthy. Having said that, a must see is The Water Diviner. In my opinion, it gave a lovely glimpse into the Turkish point of view of Gallipoli. After all, if we take out all the glorification and hype, we allies were invading their country. Also, just saw the Angelina Jolie pic filmed extensively in Australia: Unbroken. Opening bombing and dogfight sequences very gripping, holds great promise. The film sags a bit then, goes on for about ten minutes too long in the scene involving being adrift at sea, but then picks up again with the POW scenes. I follow another blogger who documents war history, so I was already very familiar with the story of Louis Zamperini, but it is a story worth following. The film does the usual, Americans are heroes, rah, rah, rah – but in terms of bringing the historical events to a wider audience, I think it does its job. . . . Oh! sun set an hour ago, warm evening, full moon came up over the ocean, then suddenly a dense shower of rain. Huntsman spider has just come in to shelter. Out, damned Spot! (says Gwen who is currently reading Wolf Hall).

      Like

      • How good of Bill to take the youngsters to the movies without you – I can think of a few chaps that would be rather intimidated by being responsible for groups of grandchildren at the cinema. Different opinions on how children should behave!! Plus I know some grandparents can remember the Second World War and they don’t like history to be messed about. We have one member of the extended family who will be 95 years old later this year. It’s easier to stick to the older stuff like the Tudors where disagreements are academic rather than personal. (oh dear, don’t know about that spider!)

        Like

        • I am lucky, Bill loves spending time with the grandchildren, and they are growing up too. Age range from ten to sixteen now. Of course, we have different points of view – but I think that is in the script. Bill is also good at shooing out spiders, although he always wants to kill them and destroy their webs, while I am in the “live and let live – everyone deserves a home” camp. We had such a battle with cockroaches this summer, small brown flying ones, and huge black ones (typical sight in Sydney and east coast Australia), and I think the Huntsman spider eats them. So I am all for treating those spiders kindly. Trapdoors and red backs are another matter . . . although also very common in my childhood home.

          Like

          • I don’t know if I could cope with your spiders dangerous or not, but I do know that even over here in the UK spiders are supposed to be extremely good for clearing away (eating) nuisance bugs and insects. Still, I don’t like them in the house, but I never disturb them in the garden if I can help it as the plants need all the help they can get against an army of predatory insects. Cockroaches – now they’re not so popular, but beetles are acceptable, it’s hard to understand precisely where humans get their prejudices from!

            Like

          • Hi Agnes, Only just caught up with this comment – sorry for the delay. Would you believe there was an article on television the other day about the number of spider bites in January. Here’s a link to one of the stories (I must have been having a prescient moment). http://www.2st.com.au/news/shoalhaven-news/82712-spider-bites-have-spiked-shake-out-your-shoes
            As for cockroaches, no one likes them – but if you ever visit Australia and you see them in a house, don’t assume the owners are not clean. Those beasties thrive in warm, humid environments, and are indestructible. Beetles are much more to my liking. We have a lovely one that comes out around Christmas, a member of the scarab family.

            Like

          • I don’t know about shaking out your shoes, but I’ve noticed spiders living in Wellington boots before. Talking of cockroaches and beetles I chose a necklace of silver scarabs (dung beetle) when visiting the pyramids in Egypt, apparently a symbol of re-birth for the Ancient Egyptians. I think Western attitudes to cockroaches can be a little hysterical. However, all the major hotels and restaurants in a big city like London have RMC contracts with pesticide companies to keep the cockroach population under control along with rats and mice. That’s high density urban living for you!

            Like

          • Here’s a link to a picture of our Christmas beetle. Isn’t it pretty? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_beetle
            They often end up on their back inside a house over the Christmas season. So I pick them up and take them back outside. They are quite docile and have a gentle tickling sensation in the hand. On the other hand, I went down to line dancing today, and there was a Kenny Kockroach dead on his back. I wasn’t so kind to him. I grabbed him with a tissue and stuck him in the rubbish. Yuck! We are due a pesticide spray here where we live, but there are so many pets and so much open space, I don’t think the cost-benefit equation adds up.

            Like

          • Ah ha – your Christmas beetle looks very similar to my silver scarabs. Yes, pesticide spraying is tricky and there have been problems with side effects for ‘non-target’ lifeforms. I suppose our successful way of living has opened up opportunities for successful insects to expand their populations and the entomologists tell us that cockroaches are great opportunistic survivors.

            Liked by 1 person

  5. Hmm… that ain’t what we call a thong in the States, girlfriend! A thong to us is something much more… ah… revealing. *grin*

    Loved the photographs. I understand Australia has among the most diverse and interesting species of animals on the planet. I will probably never travel to Australia (the plane ride seems too daunting for one who detests flying), but how I’d like to!

    Like

    • Haha. Yes, my dear, I believe you are referring to what we call a G-String here. Not to be confused with a ‘spot’ on a woman’s anatomy. And the offensive part of that underwear, when it appears above a waistband, is called a ‘whale-tail’. We have lots of lovely animals here. The cockatoo is cute in the wild, but loves to eat fences and decking in suburbia. We also have an array of creepy-crawlies. The first ride I went on at the water action park is called the ‘Funnel Web’, and I figured that if I survived that ride, anything else would be a walk in the park. Why? Because in reality a Funnel Web is a particularly nasty spider which can give a venomous bite. But we love them all, in fact, the red back spider is so endeared, we have a song in its honour. Here is a link, not sure if you will understand the country accent: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TjDAiq2-xeU

      Liked by 1 person

      • Funny song! Um… having experienced the venom of one our local spiders, I think I am content to let you keep the red back spider. I understand Australia is also known to have the largest number of venomous snakes in the world – I would much rather consider the cute little Koala bears!

        Your remarks about the thong (g string) were funny. 😄

        Like

        • Koalas can piddle on unsuspecting celebrities as they cuddle them for the paparazzi shoot. Tee hee. Snakes, well, I almost posted a photo of one of the grand-daughters with a python wrapped around her neck, taken on Australia Day, and I did stroke it. But as for the venomous ones, you sure don’t want to get close to them! One time, when Bill and I were driving a country road, we came across a long snake stretched across the width of the road, and about a third of the way down its body was a huge lump – it was still digesting its last meal. I guess to be that big it was also a non-venomous python or similar, but we didn’t take any chances. We nearly bogged the car by driving off-road, but we weren’t going to run over the snake, nor were we going to attempt to move it 🙂 Being city people, we had no idea of the safe way to handle it.

          Liked by 1 person

I love comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s