About us

We are a family of four. Sarah, Andy, Finn & Isla and we are on the emigration path to Sydney, Australia from Somerset, England. We arrived on Tuesday 24th August 2010 and this is our story.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Latrodectus hasselti

Or affectionately and more commonly known as the Redback spider.  

I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later as we are somewhat in the trees where we live but I am still a little surprised to have come eyeball to eyeball with a Redback.

I was opening the garage door (manually, which is a little unusual in a place where virtually every house has electric roller doors) and when it was half way up I saw the arachnid in question.  Unassuming, small, black spider with sharp looking legs and that unmistakable red spot on it's back.  I was taken aback for a moment and then common sense kicked in and I realised this one had to be dispatched.  Until now we have not needed to do this as we have only had one Huntsman in the house which we caught and posted outside.  Huntsman are generally very large, ugly and desired spiders as they eat other insects which as far worse!  Plus, can you imagine squishing one of those on the walls......?  You would have to redecorate.

So, with the children safely buckled in the car still I chose my weapon.  The flap from a used box from Christmas.  Perfect.  I went for the squish and unfortunately didn't get it square on so it scrambled a little and dropped to the floor. OMG, I couldn't see where it had gone to start with and was pretty worried that I now had a cross Redback on my hands.  Thankfully I spotted it quite quickly and ensured it's departure.  Phew.

This whole moving to Australia thing has made me quite a bit more able to deal with things that I used to find made me a bit squeamish.  I can dispatch spiders, remove lizards, clear webs and generally deal quite well with the insects.  However, there are more then I ever imagined possible.  We all had tea in the garden last night and we spotted what looked like a wire running between some trees about 20 feet apart.  It was then that we realised it was in fact a spiders web thread.  Seriously yuck and focus' the mind somewhat!

I can also deal with prawns in the shell which I never could before, and dare I say it.....I quite like shelling them now!  Prawns for tea tonight...yum.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

A toasty hot Christmas

....or at least not a freezing cold snowy wintry Christmas like it is back in Somerset, UK.  We had some friends fly over and visit us for 4 days over the break and we had an amazing time.  The weather was a bit of a disappointment considering that we are in Sydney, Australia and it is the Summer! We went in the pool on Christmas Eve and day but those were the only times it was warm enough.  In fact it was only sunny on Christmas day and for the rest of the time was overcast.  Our house guests had come all the way from Perth where it was in the high 30's and blazing sunshine every day!  A bit of a shock for them.

I had a lovely feast planned for the holidays and so after popping down to the airport on Christmas Eve morning we headed over to collect our seafood from the local fishmonger who had in fact opened at 3am that morning!  Madness.  Anyway we rocked up at around 11 and the queue was through the shopping centre and around the corner!  We joined the queue with Gloria Jeans coffees in hand and thankfully it only took around 45 mins to get to the front.  I bought 2kg of the most amazing pre-cooked Australian medium king prawns and 4 Moreton Bay Bugs.  All of it was totally delicious and the best prawns I have ever had.  The rest of our festive party concurred!

A dip in the pool helped with the jet lag and refreshed us all.  Andy came home and the festivities really started!  Surf and turf for tea and then Finn & Isla went off to bed after leaving some food out for the reindeer and Father Christmas himself!

Finn has reached the age where he really gets Christmas and was therefore pretty excited....a 6:10 start for us this year....!

 Father Christmas came!
 New Christmas PJ's!
Super cool sunnies from Father Christmas

It was a hot and sunny day so after breakfast we headed out into the garden and spent a great few hours in the pool.  Andy had a practice on his body board which I gave him!

We then cooked some chicken on the barbie which turned out pretty well - we experimented with beer chicken which was good!

 Christmas happiness is up to your elbow in a Pringles tub next to the pool after a refreshing dip!

The chicken turned out very well! 

We had a late lunch/early tea before flaking in front of a film and then off to bed.  A very different Christmas day for us but it was nice.  I had been struggling with feeling festive but having children and their excitement is contagious!  Spending time with the people you love makes it easier.  The first time in decades that Somerset has had a white Christmas and we have missed it though....typical!

On Monday we decided to brave the beach as the weather was not great, a bit chilly and overcast but Andy really wanted a go on his new bodyboard.  So we decided on Manly as it has the beach right next to the town so we could head there for lunch.  Without further ado, here is the evidence:

 Look at that cloud cover.  Seconds later Andy went under that wave and out the other side!
 Post body boarding - he looks good in a wet suit!

Chuffed with his accomplishments!

Back to normality now really, the tree is still up and we plan to try and see the 9pm fireworks on Friday night but our guests have gone.  Finn & Isla were very lucky and have had some lovely toys which are their current favourites!

One last pic which is so cute, Isla was given a beautiful tea set and wooden cake stand from Granny and Grandad and she and Finn had such fun on Christmas day having a tea party in her room.  Too cute!

Thursday, 16 December 2010

That golden hour

So, I hear that there is a great time to take good pictures and that is sunrise and sunset and they are known as the golden hours!  I very nearly made it out for sunrise the other day but bed and a slight (2 kids!) lie in beat me in the end.  Anyway, I made it out at sunset on Tuesday and visited Turimetta beach as planned.  I spent a good 2 hours on the beach which was very therapeutic and took some good photos (I think!), learned a lot and now I want more....!

My favourite. Wish the sky was a richer blue.  It was a very cloudy night.

Need a spirit level for my hot shoe (squiffy horizon line!).....please Santa....?

The last 2 are a little dark but I still like them, it was at this point that I looked up the beach, realised that there was no-one around anymore, it was actually pretty dark and got a little scared.  Always have been a scaredy cat in the dark!  A brisk walk up the beach with my torch (very organised I know!) and one last glance down to the beach from the headland and I was gone.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Hawkesbury River and beach days

We took a drive up to Wisemans Ferry on the Hawkesbury River a few weekends ago and happened across the Bridge to Bridge race by chance.  It was pretty hot day in our opinion, around 32c and we did all sweat a little!  We played in the park while waiting for the water skiers and when they did arrive we certainly knew it.  These little pocket rocket boats have engines on the back about the same size as the boat!  They make quite a noise which was echoed through the valley of the river.  It was all over pretty quickly as the water skiers zoomed past our vantage point at speeds up to 200k an hour.  

A couple of pics of Finn & Isla from the day:

We had a picnic and then headed across the Wisemans Ferry and headed up into towards St Albans and our first unsealed road experience!  We have previously only ever had rental cars in Australia on holiday and therefore were not allowed to drive them on these roads.  Now we own a car!  So we headed onto an incredibly bumpy dirt road and started to explore a little more and saw some Kangaroos, which are pretty elusive.
Look close, real close.....(in the middle of the pic)!

We found a lovely little settlers pub to visit for a late lunch, sat in the garden and listened to the live music.  Nice.

A leisurely drive home and we made our way back to the ferry to cross back over the river to home.  Turns out the large car ferry had broken and so they were using the emergency ferry which only carries 6 cars rather than the normal 15.  2 hours later (OMG!) and we had crossed the 100 ft of water.  We must be getting with the Aussie spirit of laid backness as we just opened the car doors, sat back and waited in the sun.  The detour was around 140k's so it is questionable which would have taken longer!

So skipping forward a few weekends to the one just gone and we visited a beach I found recommended for a place to take great photographs.  Turimetta.  I think this will currently go down as our favourite beach as there is a good mix of sand, cliffs, rock pools, shallow paddling pools and lots of sea life!  Andy caught a fish in a bucket for us to have a look at - he was just as surprised as me!

We spent about 4 hours there paddling, playing, exploring and splashing.  Finn and Isla had an amazing time and just thinking about it makes me smile.  In fact we visited it on Saturday and Sunday as it was so good!

I am now planning a dawn visit to the beach to get some pictures of the sea.  Think I may go this weekend.

Saturday was our 6 year wedding anniversary and we celebrated by taking a stroll around Manly, fish & chips, Ben and Jerry's and then a beach stroll so a perfect day.

Here are some pictures of our sandy adventures this weekend.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Night photography

We had our night photography field trip last night and it just happened to coincide it with a light up of the bridge and Opera House in bright red to raise awareness for World AIDS day.

A complete coincidence which resulted in some of my best photographs yet I think.  I really, really enjoyed the experience and there is nothing like getting some OK results to motivate and spur you on!
So, without further ado here are my 5 favourites from the night.