Saturday, November 19, 2011

Tσys and Bσys

Phew, I don't know where that week went either.  Well I do, it was full of my car breaking down and needing expensive repairs to the engine's cooling system, of Climber going off to School Camp for two nights (he came home exhausted having enjoyed the activities but not the lack of sleep) and of my excitement at receiving glowing reports from the Spicks and Specks Show as they smashed their opening week at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney.

But the car is mostly repaired, and back, the boy is back and our life is now back to normal.  That's if you don't count the excitement of Fixit firing up his old Galaxy Invader 1000 handheld game for his sons to see.  (Periodically, Fixit brings home some treasure from his boyhood that has been stored at his parents' house in their meticulously organised cupboards.  I sincerely hope my children are not hoping to do the same when they are in their 40s, I do not have or ever expect to have meticulously organised cupboards.)


Climber was very keen to have a go, and while he waited (patiently) for Fixit to relinquish his turn, he asked about what it was. I said, thinking I was being pretty funny, It's a DS! meaning those little hand-held games that kids nowadays all play with, and which I was always too mean to let our kids have because of their basically antisocial nature ie kids stop playing with each other when the DSs come out and turn into screen zombies.   Anyway, I was soon put to rights because Fixit said it's a Single Screen, it can't be a DS.  Turns out DS means Double Screen (because they fold up): I did NOT know that!


I wandered off then only to be followed by Mister Fixit who wanted me to admire the pristine condition of the Galaxy Invader 1000, which extended to the box it came in.  Look, he said, showing me the box, only a tiny rip in it!  Pretty impressive huh?  Pretty good for a kid? This made me shake my head at him and his obsessive orderliness and the way he nags the kids to be careful! with their toys, so I said Why don't you go off and write a list or something?


Cherub, in the corner building his new lego, (a belated birthday present from my Dad), missed the note of sarcasm and derision in my tone and clearly thought this was an eminently reasonable suggestion.  When Fixit retorted that he would write a list, of all the silly faces I pull at him, Cherub piped up You could make a list of all your toys Daddy.  At which point I laughed, and Fixit walked off shaking his head at us.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Spicks and Speck-tacular

Yesterday, Nell and I were very excited to attend the dress rehearsal for the Spicks and Specks stage show.  For those who don't live here I should explain that Spicks and Specks is a much-loved and very funny music quiz show on national television, which, after 7 years, and to widespread dismay, is coming to an end.  However, the cast are about to go on tour around Australia with their farewell stage show, called, appropriately, Spicks and Speck-tacular - The Finale.

"After 277 episodes and more than 150 guests, Adam, Alan and Myf decided to call it a day and draw the curtain on seven years of Spicks and Specks on ABC-TV.

But before they go they’re going to hit the road with a brand new stage show based on Australia’s favourite music quiz show.

Don’t miss your chance to say goodbye when Spicks and Speck-tacular – The Finale stops at a town near you.

If you liked Spicks and Specks, you really, really should go see the farewell stage show.  It's a lot of fun, and just a bit poignant too; it made us realise how much we really didn't want to say good-bye to this show and these 3 people: host Adam Hills and Team Captains Alan Brough and Myf Warhurst.  It has been a weekly viewing highlight for our family ever since it started and has given us countless laughs and much pleasure.  And the stage show is going to be great.  We laughed til our cheeks hurt at the dress rehearsal.  Adam, Alan and Myf are  a very likeable trio on stage.  They work so well together and never stop cracking jokes, so that even when there were technical hitches the show was still hilarious.  I think the full show with all the lights and sound and effects is going to be fantastic.  You should go!

If that doesn't convince you to rush out and buy tickets, then here's an added inducement: you know the person who taught Alan Brough to tap-dance and who choreographed his tap routine in the stage show!  Yes! Yes you do!!  (Because it's me!!)   That is what I've been working so hard on for the last 5 weeks.  It has been pretty intense, because Alan had very little dance experience and we had to get him up to something that looks creditable on stage, and could be performed in front of thousands of people.  It was quite nerve-wracking for both of us.  But Alan said on his first lesson that he was absolutely determined to get it, and he was not joking about that.  He worked so hard! You probably wouldn't believe quite how hard we had to work to come up with just one minute's worth of tap-dancing.  When I saw it as part of the full show run-through it was over in a flash, and yet it has been such a massive part of the last month of my life.  Somehow it doesn't quite compute.


And in case you're wondering what Alan is like in person, he's lovely; as you'd expect if you've watched him on telly.  He's funny, self-deprecating, unfailingly polite, interested and interesting.  He was great to talk with.  I enjoyed and looked forward to our lessons.


The boys met him a couple of times too. They'd walk to the Tap Hall after school and play quietly in the back room while Alan and I had our lessons.  The first few times they said hello quite shyly, but they were pretty chuffed to meet him and gradually started to pop their heads out a bit more.  Cherub even favoured Alan with his Fagin impression one day. (We've been watching the movie Oliver! quite a bit lately.) They were very impressed about the whole knowing someone off the telly, and started demanding that they be allowed to stay up and watch the show - it screens at 8.30 which is past their bedtime - and of course, always wanted Alan's team to win.  My sister, who took these pictures for me, was also pretty star-struck and insisted that Alan sign her Melbourne Cup Press Pass.


I always feel very proud of my tap students when they get stuff right, and this is no different.  I can't wait for the show to come to Melbourne so I can see it properly with Fixit and the boys.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Bendigo vs Fete

Our school had its annual fete yesterday and I, for all intents and purposes, missed it.  I am surprised to find how much I mind this, especially given the reason I missed it was because I went away to Bendigo for a very enjoyable overnight stay with some super-lovely girls and a nice happy baby, and saw the 200 Years of The White Wedding Dress Exhibition which was ace. And actually, I did make a physical appearance at the fete, but it was quite belatedly, (at 4pm, closing down time), and like the conscientious first-born that I am, I took a quick lap around the grounds to locate and greet my family and then jumped straight onto the stall as per my roster, and spent the next couple of hours helping to pack up.  Which means that this morning I feel like I had all the work and none of the fun of the fair.  Crazy, I know.  I made the choice to go away, I had a lovely time and I satisfied my own personal agenda of community participation by also fulfilling my school duty.  It's just now I wish I'd had time to chat with friends, watch Cherub and his bestie have a ball in the cardboard maze, witness Climber being all grown-up and responsible as he took his rostered shifts alongside his other Grade 5/6 peers working the Mystery Box Stall, admire Fixit's cooking skills as he barbecued onions for the Grade 2 Sausage Sizzle stall plus maybe picked up some fete produce / bargains; or had a longer more chilled out stay away with my Bendigo posse, without the rush and panic to get there straight from Saturday morning tap class and the overhanging and nagging need to get back in time to do my duty at the other end; in other words, I wish I could have split myself in two for the weekend.   Then I could have helped Fixit actually remember sunscreen and hats for everybody (luckily it was overcast) and the packed lunch for the fussbudget eater Cherub, but then I guess he'd never have expanded his eating repertoire to finally include pizza, quite the breakthrough!

I think my disappointment about this led me to grouch at Fixit and my sister that evening for not having noticed that we were about to run out of low-fat milk (essential for my cup of tea) and how I was sick of that sort of thing being always left up to me when they were both grown-ups too; when really I should have thanked Fixit for packing up the tap hall (also Nell; thank you Nell!) so I could fly out the door to catch the train to Bendigo on Saturday, doing a load of washing, (well putting it out, I've yet to see him do the whole bring in, fold and put away but you can't have everything, can you now?) defrosting the fridge, and taking care of the boys all day at the fete when actually that sort of community participation is not his cup of tea and he viewed it as a sacrifice because he'd far rather spend a Sunday tinkering in his shed.  What's more he did all of this with good grace and without expectation of congratulatory fanfares or return favours, because he is a nice person. So thank you Mister Fixit, sorry I was grouchy.  As for my sister, well she drove off today back to Canberra to deal with the implosion of her domestic situation, so I should not have grumped at her either, if only because she will be getting enough of that in the next few days/weeks/months.  But given that she has just had an 11-day stay at my place for the 3rd time since July and that this stay she was cooked and cleaned for while she focused on her work, (it was like I had two husbands), I am sure she will understand that it was just one of those sisterly snaps that happen, and forgive me too.