Monday, December 04, 2006

Xmas 2006

Well Xmas is nearly on us yet again and it looks like I have one the race to get the tree up .....

Have to admit this really stretched my artistic streak but it is better than nothing and doesn't look too bad ...

So the Drouin household is up and running .... and if you are wondering where the presents are ???? What presents ???

Monday, November 27, 2006

Pampered pooch

Our little chiahauha, Mickie, is a very pampered little pooch. Not only does he usually get a nice cooked breakfast, gets to sleep in a nice bed in the laundry but gets the special grooming treatment from the Vet.

He's just recently been there for a manicure, hairdo and to have his ears cleaned out (wonder how much it would cost for me?). Tell you what, not even a diva at an upper class hair stylist gets it this good. Not quite sure of the end result though - maybe a little bit poofy! I think the little red ribbon should go.

Fowl business

We have become sick of the chooks (and we only have two) crapping all over the place, especially on the patio's concrete floor. So, I have taken things into hand and built a chicken run. This will also double as the guinea pig house for the one and only guinea pig we have. They should have plenty of room and the place will be much tidier.

Noorat Show

Mum, GP, Grandma, Ben & Chloe all had a day out at the Noorat Show on the 18th. Got there about 11a.m. and stayed for a bit over four hours. Weather fairly warm, but everyone survived really well. Lots to do and see - quite a good, little country show.

Started with a few rides and interests for the kids - keep them happy. Mostly nice, sedate stuff like the ferris wheel, jumping castle/slides and pig train ride. Don't want to get them too hyped up, early in the day. If the youngsters have a good day, everyone has a good day - and we all know the opposite situation.

Had a combination of rides, seeing the various exhibits. A bit of lunch (Rob & I even shared a cold Crownie). A camel ride (but not for the "oldies"). Couldn't get Lorelle & Ben away from the dodgems for a while. Not sure who was the worse/better driver, but they both seemed to enjoy the crashing and banging (and that was just walking along, getting there). Chloe would have loved to get into her own car and to rip up the track, but we thought it might be a bit 'scary' for her - probably right.

Finished as we started with a ferris wheel ride for Ben and more slides for Chloe. Then a relax back at home - what little angels!

Ben then finished off a really big day by going to the Monster Trucks at the showgrounds at Warrnambool with dad.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Chopper Update

I've got $175 pledged so far but am still looking for more. My target is $350 so I am about half way there.

This is a pic of 5 of us that are all working hard to raise funds. Feel free to ask us for a request (but there is a price attached).

We are thinking of doing a naked calendar and selling it at an extreme premium. Personally signed of course. There has to be a market for 5 hunks like us to be able to sell our perfectly formed bodies.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Chopper Eat Your Heart Out

Okay .... So i'm taking part in 'Mo-Vember' to raise money for Prostate Cancer Research. This is 10 days in to the month and if any one wants to help with some sponsorship don't hesitate to get in touch.

I want an exceptionally large donation from the old's by the way as that's the least they can do for all those years of poor parenting .... :-)

As a side note: I really am much more attractive than it looks like in the picture !

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cup Day blues

Had the usual festive Melbourne Cup day - chicken, prawns, champers and some punting. The 'blues' were definately on me as I couldn't get a collect all day with my trifectas - managed a 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the last but as we all know, may as well have been the last three home.

Robbie capped off a successful spring campaign though, having had a good win Caulfield Cup day. She had three good wins, including the Cup winner (completing the Caulfield-Melbourne Cup double) - winning over $150, enough to easily cover my pathetic efforts.

Lorelle and Chloe joined us. I know Ben would have loved to be here too, but he had school - not getting a holiday here in the country. I guess the excitement was just too much for them as evidenced by the picture of them relaxing between races. Chloe, did, however find some mischief to attend to. Helping me to organise the prawns and bacon appetizers, she clearly decided that the only way we might make a profit from the afternoon would be to go out and rob a bank or two - Ned Kelly style.

Nosey neighbours ....

Started mowing the back yard on Saturday and noticed some activity from the block behind. A bit of scraping and a few thumps - thought we might be under attack.

Fears were soon allayed when it became clear that it was just a couple of bousterous bovine sticky-beaks having a peak over the fence. Maybe they could smell the aroma of the freshly cut grass and thought a feed was in the offing as I usually empty the catcher over the fence.

Or, with the weather starting to warm up, perhaps they were they just hoping to catch a glimpse of Robbie sun-baking nude in the back yard. That would really make their eyes pop (and, no, I don't have any photos of this - at least not that I am prepared to show publicly).

Sunday, September 24, 2006

One Swallow does not a summer make ...

Looks like the Marr menagerie is about to get bigger. About this time of year, it's not uncommon to get swooped by a magpie or two, but we had a similar problem at the front door with, of all things, a swallow (see, it's only you rude minded buggers that took the title the wrong way).

We were just heading out the front door when a swallow ( a welcome swallow to be accurate) was just flying in - as we discovered, to build a nest on the detector right in the corner at the door. Nearly brained it with the flywire security door. Had another couple of incidents where the bird(s) have nearly flown in the door. Both swallows and Marrs are now more watchful when exiting via the front.

We considered discouraging them in case we ended up with a bit of a mess right on our doorstep, but what the hell, there could be much worse things at the door. The thought of a little family of swallows taking up residence in fact is quite appealing. We believe too, that if this nest works, they will probably come back each year. Apart from the constant interruption by people going through the door, it should be a nice, warm, protected and safe spot for them - and I would imagine they will get used to human traffic.

We'll just have to wait and see what transpires.

An Official Week-end

Had a couple of official engagements on the weekend of 16th and 17th September.

The first was the unveiling of a memorial to the first burial that took place at Tower Hill Cemetery to mark the 150th anniversary of the Cemetery. The grave marks the resting place of William Duodecimus HALHED the designer of the Cemetery layout who picked his burial place when he did the plan. He died 12 Sep 1856 and his wife, Mary followed him soon after. Ben found his first Cemetery very interesting, as the geometrical layout intrigued him and he wanted us to read all the names as we passed them. Wisely, since it did drag on a bit, Robbie took him wandering and as he decided he was a dinosaur that went about growling loudly, it was a good decision to keep away from the official ceremony.

The second function was the official opening of the Warrnambool synthetic hockey pitch. As a past President and Life Member of the Association I actually rated an invite to this one. A representative Warrnambool side played the Victorian U15 squad in an exhibition match prior to the festivities. Needless to say, the Vics won, but the local team acquitted itself with distinction. The Ceremony was conducted by Warrnambool Mayor, Cr. Glenys Philpott who has a long association with Hockey in Warrnambool. We didn't stay for the free "eats" which looked very appetizing but decided instead to head back home. Ben stuck it out very well, again, even though he must have found the whole thing very boring.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

The old & the new in perfect harmony ....

The new synthetic hockey fields at Warrnambool are starting to get a real work-out - we even have Robbie up there on Wednesday nights for a run. The combination of damp evening air, and the artificial lights make photography very difficult as you can see by the photos. Rob would say, of course, that the blurring is caused by her incredible speed on the pitch. I'm not quite so sure, but for the sake of peace & harmony, I guess I'll just have to agree - at least publically, that is.

Anyway, the new facilities are absolutely fantastic - even I had a five minute run last week (sorry, no photos - thank god!)

I also took a small video of Robbie's scintillating skills, but haven't been able to upload that into the blog - as yet. Hopefully there is a way I can achieve this - still working on it.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Photo Retouching

Earlier in this blog, there is a picture taken of the wetlands near home - there was a signpost in the foreground that really annoyed me. Well, daughter Lorelle who is preparing to embark on a "Photo Retouching" venture of her own, took the picture and expertly removed the post.

You can see in the reproduction at top, right which shows what I mean. Lorelle has just started developing her own website which is under construction, but does show a great photo re-touch she has done featuring Ben & Chloe in 'pixie' type poses using composites and parts of various other pictures. A smaller example is shown here to the right.

The retouched wetlands, shown left, shows how that pesky post has been removed. I have zoomed it as far as possible using a variety of graphics programs, and I'm damned if I can see where the signpost was. Congratulations to Lorelle on an extremely pleasing effort. (Although she hasn't sent me the bill yet).

You can also contact Lorelle via E-mail and she will be happy to discuss costs, timings, etc. for any special projects you may have in mind.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Viewers please note

I know a very select few people keep track of our blog, but don't know if you realise how things work if you respond, reply or comment regarding a post. We get a notification when you do post a comment, but it is always shown as being from "anonymous". If you don't mind, could you add your name to your response, that way we'll know who is showing this added interest. And, particularly since sarcasm is so prevalent in our family and friend's circle, we'll know just who to have a go back at!!

If you don't want to identify yourself, that's fine - but it would be nice if you did.

Cemetery CD Now Available

For those of you who may wonder what we do in our spare time (especially if you check out the lawns and garden - which have suffered neglect for some time), you may now get an idea.

We have just published our first commercial CD - Cemeteries of South West Victoria. This contains an index and details of headstone transcriptions in Cemeteries throughout the SW region.

Over 130 Cemeteries are covered, with in excess of 70,000 entries (now that's a hell of a lot of writing and typing). There are also more than 3,500 photos (yeah, I know, how exciting can a picture of a headstone be?).

Anyway, it's there for anyone interested. If you are into genealogy, or family tree business, and have relatives from down here, this may be for you. Cost is only $27.50 (inc. GST) - BOOOOOY, what a bargain!!!!!!. To order, visit our homepage and check it out. All the smaller Cemeteries are available, free-of-charge, but no photos. These are all on the CD, but there is the addition of the 12 largest Cemeteries also on the CD - over 40,000 names in these alone. Click on the 'Cemeteries of S.W. Victoria' link and the rest will be easy.

Chloe is THREE years old

Chloe has just celebrated her third birthday. The Marr's and the Watt's all got together to help her see in the day, in style. There was all the usual fare, with kids running all over the place plus the giving and opening of lots of presents.

The highlight, of course, was the new TRAMPOLINE - a large circular jobbie with full safety netting all round.

Chloe seems to spend most of her time jumping and skipping around (she couldn't just, simply WALK anywhere) so this seemed the ideal thing - a place where she can jump and skip to her hearts content - and do somersaults as you can see by the picture. It also allowed her to get some pretty good height on the jumps as it doesn't take long for confidence to overcome fear, especially for a strapping three year old.

Of course, everyone had their turn - Tim & Lorelle should have charged $1 per go and would have made a fortune.

Cobden Miniature Railway

Took Ben & Chloe to the Cobden Miniature railway for an outing - lots to see & do there.

They have lots of different trains to ride on with three shown at the station, but a number of others were not running at that time.
We chose the 'diesel' engine and went round the railway course - Ben, Chloe & Robbie up front where they got the best view.

There are lots of things to do there - a playground, things to climb on such as the cannon shown below, various slides and the usual fare that one finds in this type of setup, barbequeue area (under cover), plus a kiosk and some railway memorabilia for the buffs.

Safety is always a premium with a walkway over the tracks available for those daring and younger people. When there are no trains approaching, you can walk across the tracks, but need to be watchful, so using the bridge is safer. It also affords a good view of the station, as the two to the right here will testify.

Wetlands Walk

We have a winter-only wetlands quite close to home, and often go for a walk to keep an eye on it. Many water birds set up house there each year, along with lots and lots of frogs of differing varieties, going by the variation in croaks & sounds that we hear. In the past few years, a single pair of swans have nested and raised their young over the winter-spring period..

This year has been different. Still lots of water, once the rain had set in, but we had over thirty swans take up residence. Many seemed to be paired off, but no real nesting activity apparent. The swans seem to switch between two patches of water throughout the day, and can be seen grazing on the grassy paddocks adjacent to the water edge

We were returning from Chloe's birthday party, with storms threatening all round when we got a great picture of the rainbow over the lake area of the wetlands.

Monday, May 01, 2006

First the Series .. Now Chloe is a Slider

Took Ben & Chloe to the local playground on Sunday - Lake Pertobe in Warrnambool. Chloe showed uncommon bravado after a short while and decided she would try out all the slides - of which there are a few.

First she tried theClick to Enlarge twisty pipe style slide, which was surprising as it appears quite dark inside when viewed from the top. Then she tried it again - about 20 times, laughing & giggling all the way down,Click to Enlarge around, up again and so-on. This was only spoiled when some older kids (I should say idiots, actually) started muscling in on the action by climbing up through the slide and propping in the middle. Unfortunately, I had neglected to bring a bomb with me, so we moved on.

Then she tried a couple of the larger, longer slides. Really didn't expect this, but she loved it, as long as Grandma was waiting at the bottom for her. Click to EnlargeClick to EnlargeClick to EnlargeBen joined in, too and they took turns, with him waiting patiently at the top to let her finish each slide.

Click to EnlargeFinally, she turned to the twisty slide and really enjoyed that. She was sliding down on her bottom, her tummy and her back - giggling the whole time.Click to Enlarge There were some more older idiots on this slide, too. They kept getting in the way and interrupting others as they slid down - you can see one of them to the left. This jerk just stayed at the bottom of the slide the whole time and no amount of cajoling could get him to move.

Just before leaving she decided to have a little spell, so it was the dolphin rocker for her. It was apparent, however, that while relaxing, this wasn't as much fun as the slides.Click to Enlarge
Then off home to mum & dad and our hectic week-end was over.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Rod fishing is no longer enough

Click to Enlarge Upon returning from our fishing trip, it would seem that Ben is no longer satisfied with just trying his hand at rod-fishing from the beach. He found Adrian's snorkelling gear and thought this this would definately be the go in the future. Look out, fish - you're in trouble now!!!

Ben the Fisherman ...

Took the opportunityClick to Enlarge on ANZAC Day to take grandson Ben fishing at Killarney beach (a few kms. Click to Enlargewest of Warrnambool). He caught three, there's the first to the left - a little fish for a little fisherman. As you can see on the right, he's a very serious fisherman showing great concentration while waiting for a bite. Of course, during this time, yours truly only managed to catch one fish. These are similar results to the last time we went fishing - Ben - 6, GP (that's short for Grandpa) - 0. So, I guess I did a little better on this occasion.

Of course, even though it was sunny and I personally considered it a magnificent day for a beach outing, Ben & Grandma did seem to find things a bit chilly. Not even rugging up and sitting back in the comfy chairs seemed to help their situation. Click to Enlarge

When not tending the rod, concentration though, can be a bit difficult, Click to Enlargeespecially when a plane flies overhead. At these times, not even a big bite on the line would distract Ben from his true interest (at that moment). Maybe he was hoping a fish would miraculously just drop from the sky.

It was about the time that Ben & Grandma were starting to look like Ben & Yoda that I decided it was probably time to head home. Click to EnlargeStill, it is always pleasant at Killarney. The day was fine and sunny - only a little bit chilly. I am still waiting for that elusive day that I might catch the 'big one'. My son, Adrian, and I used to go there at night with lights to spear for flounder and hopefully to net gar-fish or other free swimmers of the night. Ben's still a little young for such an outing but, it won't be all that far off before he may show an interest in such things.

Anyway, due to getting back a bit late and the need for everyone to dry out and warm up, it seems that he will be staying an extra night. Which means I will have the pleasure of dropping him off at school tomorrow morning - lucky me! :-)