Friday, 31 December 2010

Books, books and more books!

One of my new years resolution for 2010 was to read 24 books; 2 a month.

I have a chequered history when it comes to new years resolutions; I do now recycle and wear a cycle helmet when out on my bike but I do not drink as much water as tea.

I therefore am pleased to with the number of books that I have completed this year. Today I am finishing off Erwin McManus 'Wide Awake' and then I will have read 52 books: an average of 1 a week. (No wonder I struggle to get all my work done!)

How did you do with this years resolutions?

Have you decided what new discipline you will do for 2011?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

slip, slop, slap, seek and slide

I know that many people in the UK are struggling to cope with the weather conditions in the lead up to Christmas: I thought I would let you know some of the difficulties faced in Perth at this time of year.

The temperature on Christmas Day is predicted to be 38 degrees (I now wonder if Santa is red due to getting sun burnt here before heading West to deliver presents!)

Last week our lodger whilst watching the Ashes test match at the WACA managed to get sun burnt in the shade.

We have noticed that our clothes seem to be perishing from the heat when we bring them in after hanging them out to dry for 10 minutes in the garden.

This Christmas we won't need a new jumper or a sledge. We won't be having a hot roast dinner or warmed mulled wine.... instead we are learning to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide:

slip on a shirt,

slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen,

slap on a broad-brimmed hat,

seek shade

slide on some sunglasses

I hope that your preparations are going well for Christmas.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Play it again Son!

Having been a good Christian for years I do own a guitar and can manage about 3 chords (enough to make me a member of the aged rock band Status Quo but not enough to ever play in public).

Some years ago in a fit of enthusiasm I brought a drum kit and had lessons for about a year but again never really pursued the passion.

Isaac has often talked about wanting to play the guitar: we brought him one for his birthday and since we arrived in Perth a guy in the church called Rob has been giving him weekly lessons.

Isaac has been delivering papers to pay for his lessons and this along with his enthusiasm has kept him practising.

As a proud dad this morning I could not help slipping my phone out and grabbing a snap of Isaac playing for the first time at a Sunday meeting.

Watch out Simon is not just the haircut Isaac has copied!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Let the Battle Begin

I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of cricket (I had heard of Botham but that was about it.)

There are several reasons why that is changing:

My boys are getting keen (during the last test I had to text Josh the score throughout the day at school)

Our lodger, Dan, is a cricket fanatic and has even managed to secure himself a job working at WACA this week, so will be paid to watch (unless he is on car park duty!)

I am British living in Perth: we have drawn the first test, won the second and we have a good chance, so I am told, to win the series in Australia!

The Motto of the West Australian Cricket Association ground in Perth is 'where legends are made'.

Let's hope that with the eyes of the world on this city for the next 5 days - that the pomms secure victory!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Perth Glory!

On Sunday I, along with my 3 kids, joined the throng going to worship at the nib stadium: to sing and shout for the world renown local soccer team: Perth Glory!

We got front row seats near the centre line and I was hoping that our 4 English Football shirts and my shouting would attract the attention of Robbie Fowler (ex Liverpool player) ....The only thing I did get was a sore throat.

For those interested we scored early on and I thought this would be the clincher to turn the season. Sadly they managed to put one in the back of the net in the last 5 minutes so it was 1 -1 draw.

Felt gutted at the score and yet glad that soccer is not my god.

Delighted to have time our with my kids!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Gone Fishing

Whilst messing about on the Swan river with our Kayaks on a warm Saturday afternoon, we also took along Josh's crab net to see if we could catch anything...
We tied a piece of ham on the bottom of the net. Not sure the exact name of the 2 fish we caught (they are called 'tiddlers' in the UK) but we were all excited!

Afterwards I discovered they are poisonous to eat which made the adventure feel more wild and risky!

Isaac persisted and he managed to bag a crab!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Education Education Education

The only time that I ever sat up and watched the results for a general election through the night was when Tony Blair swept to power in 1997 with the motto 'Education, education, education'.

I can't say that I excelled at school but I did end up becoming a teacher (and married a teacher) so I must have some appreciation for learning!

Maybe it was surprising then that when I moved from London to Perth that I did not think more about my kids schooling. Josh, Lois & Isaac finished semester 2 this week and will start their Christmas / summer break which means they don't return to their studies until February. (Lois tells me she deserves the long time off she has been in year 8 for 18 months!)

During the past 5 months I have noticed many differences to the teaching style we were used to:

The teachers are more relaxed (we witnessed 1 member of staff pouring water over the kids heads in the playground)

Discipline is more 'old school' I have heard of pupils being hit by a 'ball of paper' missile dispensed from the front of the class.

Homework seems optional - one teacher explained they had not had the time to mark my child's work during the 2 week break - because they were out having fun.

Maybe this kind of system would suit my teaching style more than the UK?!

Monday, 6 December 2010

Body Boarding

Josh, my 15 year old, now has body boarding lessons during school on Friday (they drive to the beach for them)

He came home last week and said Dad 'How about you and I head out to catch some waves?'

Knowing that a good rule of being a Father is to say yes as often as possible - I found myself at the beach that afternoon.

We only have 1 body board which we take turns using.

This photos shows me on the board and Josh going faster than me just riding in the waves....

I do love being a Dad and going out with my kids!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

True Blue

I feel that I have now become an Australian man!

This week Nicky's parents gave me my Christmas present - a mere 3 weeks early!

There may be many reasons for the goodwill gesture:

because they love me so much,

they had nowhere to hide it,

they are too tight to pay for all the wrapping paper

maybe they want their Christmas dinner cooked on it!

It's a beaut!

I know that I have now have adapted to the Australian way of life - I have more cooking power in the garden than I do in the kitchen!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas

Back in the UK when I was a school teacher my headmasters favourite Christmas song was 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas'. I loved it too and we sang it often.

To me there always seemed something almost magical about a cold Christmas. People gathered together indoors, playing board games, hiding from the pitch darkness outside that was only occasionally punctuated by a zealous house covered in Christmas lights.

Yet Christmas here is very very different.

In the past 7 days has contained many days in the high 30's degrees! People talk about Christmas on the beach and what are you going to throw on the Barbie? (I still have yet to purchase that outdoor Aussie essential!)

We are trying to get into the Christmas mood: The kids break up next week for their summer holiday, we have started buying presents, we hope to have an advent calendar and consumed the first offering by this evening and I have had my first piece of Christmas cake (I know, I know I should wait and that the cake will be gone by the 25th December but I do look forward to my daily wedge!)

Now all I need to do is dig out the Christmas CD and starting singing along to 'I'm dreaming of a White Christmas!'