Lazuli Green Island Mama

Lazuli Green Island Mama

Thursday, September 29, 2011

my Spring time child

What a lovely collection of days we had recently, celebrating Spring and the child it brought with it, eight years ago.

Noah turned eight amidst school celebrations for the season, the 2011 Rugby World Cup and - of course - our own family events, acknowledging this little one who has chosen us to be his tribe. We had days of sunshine and breezy warmth, time with family, and time with friends.

Birthday fever began with my No-No's school celebration, where we had lovely affirmations from his classmates and teacher, sharing the things they like about Noah. We learned that he's quite the funny one in his class, and also focused and hardworking (when he's not being funny). The following day was his actual birthday - also the date chosen by our school for their Spring and 21st birthday celebrations. We enjoyed a beautiful Spring festival after a delightful insight into Noah's school days and work. All of the classrooms looked alive and vibrant with the children's work: it was such a privilege to be invited in to their proud school worlds. (We particularly loved the knitted gnomes' variable head sizes.)

We still had enough energy the next day for Choochie's first rugby presentation, followed by an afternoon at Luna Park with one of Noah's favourite friends. For a family who prefers "simple" birthdays, this one was rather loooonnnnng.... however, the birthday child knew that he was celebrated and loved. Noah, we love you with all of our hearts!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Welcome Spring!

Spring brings...
  • squirming suncream sessions before we swim (although in my opinion the water is still not warm enough yet!) (Mama is never listened to regarding water temperature)
  • sunny days for fishing from our local jetty
  • May-pole dancing (even though Spring in these parts falls in September, but no-one has bothered to change the name to September-pole!)
  • a long awaited trip to New Zealand's south island, with the hope of snow!
  • and of course, weekends of torrential downpours and strong winds. May they only be fleeting. Thank you, big sky, but our water tanks are indeed now full.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Right Place Right Time

a little Rickshaw Race update for Right Place Right Time.

Let it rain... Post Script

So, you'll remember that not very long ago we had a little water shortage. Wellllll....

Less than a week later, my gut told me to check our water levels again. I was just too nervous that something wasn't quite right. I toddled up to the tanks in our back yard and tap tap tap. Nothing. A lower tap tap tap. Still nothing. I was thinking, This can't be true! How! How can we be so low again? So soon!

I alerted the husband and we began the search for water. We looked all around the tanks: the ground was dry. We checked the holding tank: all normal. We checked the pump: no excessive pump action, indicating that all was normal within the house. The Zimbo began digging holes to find the water pipe from the tanks to the house. Then we began checking the neighbouring property, which lies downhill of our tanks. There we found quite a bit of water lying above the ground, as well as trickling out of the wall of a freshly dug trench. We stood in the trench by torch-light, pondering the path of the water we could hear. O, how the sound of dripping water is an unpleasant one!

After 12 more hours of pondering, discussions with any passerby, and several theories of how the water was escaping, I finally had my light bulb moment... 2 weeks earlier I had taken to the fence with tent pegs and a rubber mallet and pegged away merrily, pegging down the fence to prevent Banjo the Wonder Stuffy from shoving himself under it and escaping from the back yard. Pegging gives me great satisfaction! I feel strong and useful as I bash away with my mallet! Little did I know that I was successfully hammering a hole into our water pipe and with that, releasing 30,000 litres of precious water into the earth. What a shame.

At least I no longer feel that we cheated by running out of water through daily use. It was a valuable lesson in knowing your property. We now know (roughly) where our pipes run, not far below the surface, as well as how to access emergency water if we need it.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Right place at the right time

I'm doing a little "plug" here today. Do read on though. It's for a very good cause.

The Zimbo and I have an old friend, from our days in Germany when we were all 18-year-old exchange students - loving a little adventure and eating whatever we could. Let's call our friend Tyger.

Tyger's a bit of a crazy cat. He always was. For a few years now he's been living in Dubai. He has a high-flying job there and lives an international life of luxury. He does, however, get around and, whilst he often plonks his bum in the butter, on occasion he does find himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. In my experience, this makes him a little bit wiser, even more empathic, and certainly inspired to do what he can to make a difference.

Right now, he and 2 friends (PJ and Pricey) are driving a rickshaw 5000km across India in a fund-raising event called the Rickshaw Run. I hadn't heard of this event before, but I've never been to India. Tyger, PJ and Pricey's team is called "Right Place at Right Time". That's because they are raising money for someone who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

This is from their website:

"About us – The Rickshaw Run 2011 Charity

About us – The Rickshaw Run 2011 Charity

Everyone who moves to Dubai comes with a common purpose, to move forward in life. Either financially, socially, career wise, or to feed a family back home, the goal is the same.

Sometimes life works against us and sometimes, accidents happen. Picture this. You’re going to work one day and you are in an accident. Somebody dies. You’re in gaol and staring at 200,000 AED before you can be released. What happens if you cannot afford it?

This is the reality for some Indian nationals living in Dubai. In partnership with the Indian Community Welfare Committee (ICWC), a Dubai based charity project, it’s our aim to raise 200,000 AED and assist in the release of at least 1 man from gaol.

From 10 to 24 Sept, 2011, our team will complete the Rickshaw Run, 5000kms across India, the most dangerous driving country on earth. Share our journey and support our cause….we’re in the Right Place at the Right Time."

I do believe this is a most worthy cause and I'm proud of our feral friend for finding great use of his love of adventure and ability to shoot the breeze whilst in a foreign country. Indeed, there's a significant part of me that yearns to be in that rickshaw too, for a piece of that bumpy adventure. But you know... there's bread to bake and little boys to kiss goodnight. So I can tune in from my lovely home and send them much love for their journey. And give them this little bit of extra publicity, for what it's worth.

Here are a few links so you can check out more, and hopefully even donate some spondooly if you are so inclined.

You can also find Right Place at Right Time on Facebook.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Let it rain, I say!

I have no photos to show for the weekend that was but, goodness me, it was full.

The much anticipated Friends arrived on Friday evening and, with the fire burning beautifully, we all enjoyed the opening game of the Rugby World Cup. I've been a rugby girlfriend/wife/Mama for the best part of 18 years... since Lib, Michelle and I sat on the sideline of a game in Germany and admired the Zimbabwean's rugby thighs, whilst working our way through a jar of Nutella and videoing a rather attractive Dutchman running laps around the field. O Sorry. Anyway.... the World Cup is much more exciting for me now, with the whole family getting in to it. The three boys watch it, and my job is to record the scores.

It was a delight to have Lenka, Jules and some of the little Lala's at our house for the weekend. We all enjoy the laughter, the stories, the sun on our top deck in the morning with tea, cookbooks and newspapers, the drum kit etc. etc.

I dragged myself from my sunny spot on the lounge at one point to go for a wee. Hmmm... that's strange: toilet not flushing. [I'm sharing my intimate thoughts with you.] O dear! Taps not working either! Must be the pump.

Quite a bit of mumble-grumbling followed, with the Zimbo's head under the house as he tried to establish why the trusty water pump wasn't working. Eventually he headed up the backyard to see what was going on at the water tanks... only to find that O NO! We had NO water! It was a reality check moment: the tanks had been sucked dry by our clothes washing (approx. 12 loads in my new washing machine last week), lazily long showers, excessive children's baths.

Luckily, our island has an impressive system of water pipes for an emergency (bush-fire) water supply (another community initiative, just like the island chook coop co-op, but on a much grander scale) and within 24 hours we were able to hook up to that and replenish our tanks with about 37 000L over 10 hours.

I feel as though we've cheated.

I salute the people who are responsible for creating, and maintaining, that emergency water supply, and I've learned two things:
  1. Be mindful. It can end. (so relevant to O so many things)
  2. Keep one tank full and use the second for daily water use, in case of bush-fire. Bush-fire day would not be a good day for anything to end.
Our weekend concluded with a(nother) communal dinner and a very close (!) Springbok v Wales rugby game. The Bokke just scraped in and we all collapsed in a tired heap. Though exhausted, we had a full and happy weekend.

PS.. I really do have to mention that I caught Jules in the act of torturing his child. It was 10pm and poor little Wombat-Seal-Tom just needed to crawl into his sleeping bag and have a sleep. But no. Jules insisted on Tom standing up and singing "I love Jonny Jonny Jonny Wilkinson" or some such lullaby. I hope Tom remembers when I'm old and grey, that I saved his life that night.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Banjo sleeps

He really doesn't sleep quite as often as these pictures would have you believe.

Ooooo we love him. He is a lovely, lovely dog.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

the smell of mowed grass

Do you remember me recently proudly stating my list of handy woman moments? Well, two weeks ago it occurred to me that I have much more time at home than the Zimbabwean so it was high time I mowed the lawn. I tried to start the lawn mower, to no avail. I put it down to being weak in the shoulders and therefore not giving a hefty enough pull to get the motor going.

Roll on another week... Whilst preparing the house for a 50-people barbeque to celebrate the soccer season that was, I thought I should give it another go. Out came the lawn mower again and this time I had the wisdom to add petrol before giving it a mighty yank. Yee ha (as big Kel would say)! The mower roared to life with that familiar Australian-sunny-afternoon sound, and I was off. In a jiffy the back yard was done. My only mishap was nearly mangling a body board arm-rope, but it was saved at the last exciting moment. So, with that job done, I tried to turn the green machine off. But no! It had been sleeping for weeks and weeks (through busy winter months with much weekend sport and rain) and it (he - shall we call him "he"?) was not about to return to the shed so soon. What was I to do?

Well.. OK, we do have a small front yard that needed mowing, so I struggled over gravel paths and wooden steps (with the lawn mower still going) as best I could without mowing over my feet and finally found some more grass down the front. Mowed that, still couldn't turn him off. Mowed the very tricky slope right out the front of our property. This involves slipping and sliding and grunting and looking very undignified as you try to tame the warbling beast. I then left him warbling away while I weeded for half an hour. Surely he would run out of petrol sooner or later!

I was just about to head over to the next-door neighbours and mow their lawn (well what would you do if you had a lawn mower that just wanted to mow??) when, on close inspection, I found the OFF switch.

Who would have thought that an hour with lawn mower would become such a rambling blog post. Surely that will shake off a few blog followers (perhaps I don't have enough to lose). Here's the finished product (note the centre patch. Believe me, it's steeper than it looks).

By the way, the soccer bbq went very well. The house survived the 30 children and 20 adults and the day ended with the soccer coaches doing a winter jetty jump, just moments before the ferry arrived to take them all home.