Sunday morning going down

After Augie Dog and I had partaken of our Sunday morning toast, I took the small end crusts of the loaf, tore them into pieces and threw them out onto the lawn.

It wasn’t long before we had visitors

Rainbow Lorikeets 1


Rainbow Lorikeets


I told you, we live in a little piece of paradise.

checked the list, crossed it off

high five

I am not bragging, I am merely sharing another example of my superiority.

I have completed my Christmas Shopping!

Yes, I have more than one person to buy a gift for. No, I did not give everyone the same gift, and no one got a gift voucher.

Purchased and sitting in my house type of finished Christmas shopping, to be exact.

How sweet is that?

One standing ovation will suffice… all right, two if you must.

sceince Your little hearts went pitter patter when you saw my post pop up didn’t it, my sweets? I know, you’ve all missed me these last few days.

I fell into Monday after our adventure in Melbourne, and I tumbled right through the week and only just emerged out the other side this very Saturday morning. A little mental breakdown may have occurred Tuesday to Friday. Yes, it certainly did.

Mayhem was created in the library by a science teacher, who thought it was a very, good idea to hold a science fair in the library. Never a good idea, but some people have to see the proof of their idiotcy. To compound it, he, yes it is indeed a male who had this brilliant thought, he chose to abuse us with his precence across three days and one night.

First, there was the decent of the entire year 8 cohort, about 190 students, and one stupid science teacher.  This was day one, until we weeded out the passengers who were never go to attend on the night.

Then day two, was their planning day and experimenting day. By this stage Minerva and I were taking no prisoners. After I recused an arm load of books that a student was using to balance plastic cups of food dye water, I started throwing out students. Minerva was just saying no to every request. She had already handed out pairs of scissors only to find them stabbed into lemons to conduct electricity. I know where she really wanted to stab the scissors.

We weren’t to have been involved at all…

I collared the Deputy Principal to do walk through look and see on the first day, which he did periodically, and by day’s end was saying through gritted teeth “never again”. He disappeared into hospital for tests after that, which I am sure he would claim had nothing to do with the shock from witnessing what was happening in the library, but I know better.

Day three, the final day with the culmination of the night time Science Fair with parents attending. Mr FD’s parting words to me as I left home that day were “Remember, you can’t hurt the year 8s.”

Numbers had dwindled and I continued to challenge those students that I knew had no intention of completing anything or attending. They denied, but I was proved correct on both counts.

Half way through the day, Minerva retreated to the library work room and locked the door. She had counted how many students were conducting “experiments” using coke cola. The mentos that were suppose to be for experiments were more often in students’ mouths and they were all on a sugar high. I sent Minerva home at the end of the school day and remained to hold the fort.

I retreated to my office, where I could see, but not hear the bedlam, as students and parents tried to manoeuvre their way around the various display areas and the book stacks. A massive storm hit just prior to the starting time, which decimated parts of Brisbane (lucky you missed that one, Obama!) but only slightly impacted on our numbers.

There wasn’t much I could do at this stage, but wait to pick up the pieces next day. Armageddon had arrived, run over us, and backed up again. I handed out buckets and cloths when an erupting volcano experiment outside the library threatened to ooze through the main doors, but my tears were spent. The elephant toothpaste was its own disaster.

Strangely, no one stayed back to help clean up at the end. It was eight o’clock, and it had been an 13 hour day for me, without a break, which had included teaching as well. Some of the students had not had the decency to go home for the time between end of school and the start of the science fair, and remained to torture me.

The automatic doors thought about malfunctioning as I left, but sensed I would have torn them down had they really tried, and so eventually closed on the devastation.

Next morning I asked the Operations Manager to prioritise washing down the volcano encrusted tiles outside, but she had to see to believe before being convinced. She took photos and screamed “Never Again!” The groundsman used a high pressure hose, and then stupidly a hot air blower to dry the tiles, but as the lava refused to budge we fear he just baked it onto the tile surface. It may need acid cleaning now.

And who told them all that a library was not a place for a science fair? I wonder if anyone ever thought of holding it in, say, the SCIENCE LABS! Remember when a library was just a library? What a lovely world that was.

Someone gets number one position on the Stick List for Christmas.

alley cats and note pads

tom 2

The germanic genes triumphed again and I found myself one of the first people arriving at the conference. I helped myself to the coffee on offer and waited to the side, my tropical floral tunic not allowing me to blend in with the brick wall behind me.

A thin, grey haired man approached me.

“Come over here, I need your opinion.”

His fluttering about earlier provided me with the information that his name was Leigh and he was one of the presenters. I had rifled through my conference papers and discovered that he was in fact the children’s author Leigh Hobbs

“I want everyone to draw Old Tom, and ….”

I had no idea who Old Tom was. I knew it wasn’t in any likelihood to be Old Tom’s Cabin, so I was prepared to admit that I was in total ignorance.

“I want everyone to draw Old Tom, and I was going to hand out poster paper, but do you think it would be better to use A4 sheets or that,” he explained, pointing to the free notepad I had pilfered from the freebie table, along with two pens and a pencil.

“Notebook.” I had no idea what artists preferred, I had been shocked into a no talent, artistic experience, after my grade eight art teacher had scrawled, what is this? on the back of what I had considered a fairly good rendering of a trapeze artist in the spotlight.

“May I ask, why?”

No you can’t. “The notebook has card backing and allows you to have something to rest your paper on as you draw.”

“Excellent! Notebooks it is then.”


More than one attendee felt the panic of unexpected artistic exposure when the word circulated that we would be rendering Old Tom. Leigh lulled us into forgetting our insecurities with a very witty and librarian affirming presentation that paid particular homage to the pastoral role that Teacher Librarians provide in the school.

But the moment came, notebooks to the fore. He stepped us through each element. First a dot that became a spiral, that became an eye. Then, another eye, ears and top of Old Tom’s head.  Old Tom is a scruffy alley cat who has survived life’s many vicissitudes. My cats to this point have always been the one circle on top of another, with triangle ears, a tail and big whiskers. I’ve honed it a little in recent months since Petite Fille has learnt to say, “Cats meow”, but it would still be considered primitive art. Very primitive and distantly art.

However, until the tutelage of Leigh Hobbs a former art teacher of 25 years, I tasted artistic success. I had a cat, in fact, I had my very own Old Tom, fish bone in hand.

Cats shall meow, now!

up in the sky, it’s a Flamingo Dancer!


Lined up at the Jetstar counter, a panic stricken young couple with MONSTROUSLY LARGE LUGGAGE, pushed past the two couples including Mr FD and I, claiming they were late for their flight and were slowly dealt with by the Jetstar attendant, who accepted them over the waiting customers. They danced off through security as the attendant wandered away and mooched in the background for several minutes before returning to the counter and calmly asking   “Anyone else for Melbourne?”

“Ah yes…”

“Wow, you’re lucky we are running a little late, because I was supposed to close about five minutes ago.”

By some miracle, the attendant still breathes.


Before we left home I made a bet with Mr FD that, as usua,l I would be the one pulled aside to be tested for chemical residue. I mean, middle aged, Anglo Saxon women with an Australian accent are always blowing up planes aren’t they? Mr FD did not take the bet, and so he lost what could have been a memorable payment.

By some miracle, the security guard still breathes.


We had an aisle and middle seat. The window seat was eventually filled by a young man who had the appearance of a serious drug user. Half an hour into the flight he need to use the bathroom, so up we all get and rotated into the aisle. He was gone quite a long time. From that return, he was on constant rotation to the bathroom for the entire flight. He mumbled something about “a big drink before the flight” but he was either incubating ebola, or doing lines in the bathroom, no drink is that big!

By some miracle, he still breathes. Well, he was when he tottered from the plane.


To try and balance the trip budget, and because we had all day to get to our hotel, we decided to take the airport flyer which found 196 of us sardined into a 10 seater minivan. I had the edge bar of a double seat on which to perch for a trip into the city that was soon revealed to take in every inner city hotel in Melbourne. I tried to stay positive and tell myself that at least I would get a scenic tour of the city, but a glance to the left and right brought the realisation that they had decorated all the windows with decals and logo, so there was scant clear viewing areas. If I hunched my chin to my knee and twisted my head to the right I could just make out a tree trunk now and again. Of course, our hotel was the very last hotel on the route.

By some miracle, the driver still breathes.


On the return trip we were at the airport in ample time. The desk staff took one look at Mr FD and I and decided we were perfect for seating in the emergency exit row. My FD and his crook knees, and I and my “exercise is moving from one end of the couch to the other” attitude, were asked to lift a 15 kilo escape door and throw it from the plane. It meant extra leg room, so we agreed. If it meant I was first out of the plane I was all for it. Tough cheddar for the rest of you.

travel 1

It was a three seat row, and finally the third person arrived. A woman older than Mr FD and I, who was only minutes into her seat adjacent to the escape door, when she told me about her neck and back issues. I burst into giggles. This is what they rely on to save you, people! Fear all ye who embark here.

We were lucky that we were actually on the flight to act as life savers, because the printed ticket we were given told us to go to gate 25, where we seconded ourselves waiting to be called over the address system that was of course, just a mumbled jumble of sounds and splutters. Mr FD just happened to look up at the flight board to see that our flight was now boarding from gate 30. So much for being early.

By some miracle, we still breathe.

Day 2: it must be Melbourne!


So, while I am doing this


Librarians Conference

I will be thinking about doing this shortly

melbourne Federation-Square-Melbourne

Federation Square, Melbourne

Well, this is more Mr FD's style than mine... fear of heights and all that

Sky Deck, Melbourne. Well, this is more Mr FD’s style than mine… fear of heights and all that

Queen Victoria Markets. I believe there is paella to be had, here too.

Queen Victoria Markets. I believe there is paella to be had, here too.

There it is!




alice 2

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

on the banks of the Yarra

melbourne 8


Mr FD and I are flying to the city of Melbourne, in Victoria, this morning and staying there until Sunday evening. Regular readers will remember that a couple of months ago I won an all expenses trip to a Teacher Librarians’ Conference, and I will be attending that conference on Friday. Flights and accommodation are covered by the prize money, so we are making the most of it.

The Public Purse - Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Public Purse – Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The conference will be held within the National Gallery of Victoria. The NGV claim to have the best high teas in town, so I am thinking that Mr FD can meet me there after the conference and we shall take a genteel tea.

melbourne Stained Glass roof at National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne

melbourne National Gallery of Victoria

We are staying in the city centre and so can take advantage of the free central city tram to get around.

melbourne tram

We have made no firm sightseeing plans, but it is about five years since we have been to Melbourne and so no doubt there are lots of things to see. The Aquarium is on our  to do list though.


I want to see as much of this as possible…

La Trobe Reading Room showing Dome, State Library of Victoria. Melbourne Australia

La Trobe Reading Room showing Dome, State Library of Victoria. Melbourne Australia


The Fitzroy Garden in Melbourne Australia has an area with "Fairy Trees" that were carved and painted (before 1945) and magical.

The Fitzroy Garden in Melbourne Australia has an area with “Fairy Trees” that were carved and painted (before 1945) and magical.

Sinking Building outside the State Library, Melbourne, Australia

Sinking Building outside the State Library, Melbourne, Australia


Victorian architecture on Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia.

Victorian architecture on Collins Street, Melbourne, Australia.


Centre Place Melbourne: it's like a cross between Hogwarts Train Station and Times Square

Centre Place Melbourne: it’s like a cross between Hogwarts Train Station and Times Square

Hardware Lane, Melbourne CBD, Australia.

Hardware Lane, Melbourne CBD, Australia.

Hopetoun Tea Room - Blcok Arcade, Melbourne, Australia.

Hopetoun Tea Room – Block Arcade, Melbourne, Australia.

Shot Tower, Melbourne Central - This is a heritage listed building that a cone shaped dome was built around in order to preserve it. Melbourne, Australia, 2006

Shot Tower, Melbourne Central – This is a heritage listed building that a cone shaped dome was built around in order to preserve it. Melbourne, Australia, 2006


See you Monday!



trying to pack myself in a small suitcase

luggage 1

Have to rush home form school today to take out my luggage and pack for an adventure.

I always have visions of taking nothing more than a change of clothes and my bathroom bag, but somehow it expands from there.

luggage 2

Four days, spring, average temperatures –

The month of November is characterized by rising daily high temperatures, with daily highs increasing from 20°C to 23°C over the course of the month, exceeding 30°C or dropping below 14°C only one day in ten.

So I am thinking, most of my wardrobe to be packed.

luggage 3


I’ll tell you what I love doing more than anything: trying to pack myself in a small suitcase. I can hardly contain myself.

Tim Vine