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Saturday, 19 December 2009

Old Macdonald had a ...

Hello from sunny Queensland!

Yes, we're having a little pre-Christmas break, and have come to Queensland to visit some of Chris' relos. At the moment we're at his Dad's place in Dayboro, which is about an hour's drive to the north-west of Brisbane. It's beautiful up here in the countryside - I've taken a couple of photos for you but they'll have to wait til next time as it's proving a bit tricky to hook my camera up to his computer. We're heading back to Sydney tomorrow afternoon, but the morning will be lots of fun as Chris's sister and brother and their partners are coming for "Christmas" lunch with their babies, who we haven't met yet, so it's all very exciting! Two new nephews for us (they're both about 5 months old) and cousins for Owen and Daniel. Owen has very sweetly promised that "When the babies come I'll play with them very gently" but I have a horrible suspicion that if we don't keep a close eye on Mr Daniel he'll be bashing them over the head with a toy car or something ... (It's also going to be a bit confusing, though, as Chris' brother is also called Daniel and his wife is Rachel, so lots of potential for misunderstanding! "Come on Daniel, let's look at your nappy - no, not you, the other one!")

Yesterday we went down into Brisbane to visit Chris' cousin and his family. Crikey! We flew up so have hired a car, but rather unfortunately forgot to pack any CDs. Daniel does NOT like being in the car for long periods of time but he'll settle down if there's some music. You can guess what happened, can't you! That's right - Chris and I had to sing to him. All the way. For 2 hours. !!!!!!! It was actually quite funny - we'd start singing a song, realise we didn't know all the words, start another one - same problem. To his credit, Chris managed a complete version of "Born in the USA" with me doing back-up vocals in the chorus, and we got a couple of Christmas carols OK, but ended up singing endless variations of "Old Macdonald Had a Farm". We got a bit carried away - Old Macdonald not only had farm animals but also a fire engine (Nee-Naa), a chainsaw (vreeew), a lion (raaah) and (our personal favourite) a politician with "a lie lie here, an untruth there, here a fib, there a lie and a non-core election promise". By the time we got there we were heartily sick of Old Macdonald and his farm, and had very sore throats to boot! But Daniel liked it - every time we paused for breath he started yelling (Owen was sitting there going "Sing another one, quick!"), so he must have been having a good time!

Anyway, in case it happens again, do any of you have any suggestions about what else we could put on Old Macdonald's farm? Our inventiveness is starting to wear a bit thin, and we'll take any ideas you can come up with ...

In my last post I promised to write back to you all, so let me do that straightaway! Thanks so much for all your replies - I remember all of you very well and it's been great to hear from so many of you.

Naheed - so nice to hear from you! How's things? I can only remember the chorus too (but perhaps there wasn't much more than that anyway!)

Pary - congratulations on your second cheeky monkey! It's a bit of a juggling act, isn't it? I know exactly what you mean about electrical items - Daniel's favourite thing is switching lights on and off; he'll stand under the switch and say "Up! Light! Up! Light!" until someone lifts him up to turn the light on. He does love pulling all the baubles off the tree - we've put the non-breakable ones near the bottom so he can take them off - he thinks they're balls and throws them around the room, then Owen picks them up and puts them back on again. They're very different (like yours) - Owen's quite serious and thinks about things for a while until he's figured them out, whereas Daniel is very active and into everything. They both love helping in the kitchen, though, so I'm going to get them involved in making the Christmas cake on Monday. I'm sure we'll make an appalling mess and have lots of fun at the same time. Oh - reading books? On the train on the way to work!! (Haven't missed my stop yet but am sure it's only a matter of time!)

Filippo - How did the tree-decorating go? (I'm trying not to think about moving - as you say, the unpacking will be awful, I think!) And you are probably the only person ever to say I have good taste in music, and for that I thank you!! Was Spaceman a big hit in Italy? - it was huge in the UK.

Hyoshil - lovely to hear from you again! Are you still in Lincoln? I will freely admit that, like your librarian, I also find it difficult to read the classics - it seems to take much more concentration, doesn't it? If you're really keen, you could perhaps try getting a study guide to the book before you read it - a lot of the books I'm keen to read are set texts for English in high school, and I'm pretty sure there are study guides available to help high school students get the most out of the book. You could also "cheat" (only a little, and it's not really cheating) by reading a synopsis of the story (or watching the movie, if one exists) before you read the book; it can be helpful to have an idea of what the story is about before you start reading. What does everyone else think? Any suggestions?

Tom - ahoj! Thanks for your comments - your point about the radio stations is very true, I think. I also find it interesting that sometimes I'm sure I know who sang a song (and have been sure for years) and then find out that I've been wrong all along. Does that happen to anyone else? The most embarrassing example was a few years ago when we were going with some friends to see Mental As Anything (an Aussie band from the 80s). We were listening to their greatest hits album to get us in the mood for the concert when a song came on that made me say "But why is this on here? This was a Duran Duran song!" Ooops. Do you think Chris has ever let me forget it? Of course not! Whenever we hear a Mentals song now, the first thing he says is "Listen, it's Duran Duran". (For those who are interested, the song is called "Live it up")

Taru - thanks for your comments! Glad you're enjoying reading the posts!

Leila - my bosom possum! How are you and your family? Is Katri still riding? Great to hear from you (and what a wonderful photo)! I'll do my best to send some sunshine your way if you could kindly arrange with Santa to get some cooler weather over here. Wow, you've done it! It has just this second started to rain - it's absolutely pouring! Keep me posted on the arrival of the sunshine ...

Kirsti - monkey business is absolutely the right description! And thanks for your help with the Beatles lyrics!

Adriana - I'm so glad I'm not the only one!! Owen's first word was "cat", so I've missed out twice. Perhaps I'll have to keep having children until one of them says "mum" ... Or maybe not ...

James - thanks for your comments! Nice to hear from you again!

Well, the rain has brought my big boys in from their game of cricket, so I'll say bye for now and join them for some afternoon tea!

I'll be back next week with some photos of the Hunt family Christmas - hope you all have a great week,

Rachel H

PS Aplogies for any horrible errors in this; we've had two power-cuts since the rain started and Daniel has woken up and been very demanding!! Thought it best just to cut my losses and post it quickly before anything else happened!

relos (n - inf.) - relatives

to hook sth up (phr. vb.) - to connect

to keep an eye on sb (expr) - to watch someone closely

to get carried away (phr vb) - to be so excited you can't control yourself

to boot (conj.) - in addition

to wear thin (expr) - to be less effective because of overuse

a juggling act (expr) - trying to do a lot of things at the same time

baubles (n) - decorations

Comments

Hi. What a wonderful blog. It is so easy to imagine you desperately singing. Any advice? ENJOY that your children like you singing! There might come a day when they don't any longer. When my children were small I had read that the best music for a baby was the voice of its parents. No protestations from the babies at that time... As for the Mc Donald song I loved your politician and I have no doubt you don't need our help. I simply don't believe your «  inventiveness is starting to wear a bit thin ». :D

Hi Rachel!Sorry for I didn´t send a comment before on your blogs, but the storms around won´t let me to turn my computer on. I´m glad to hear about you and your family again. All the best, Ana Paula.

Hi Rachel!Sorry for I didn´t send a comment before on your blogs, but the storms around won´t let me to turn my computer on. I´m glad to hear about you and your family again. All the best, Ana Paula.

G'day Rachel! Indeed, you have a good music taste. Pulp, Oasis, Blur are fab. Some of their albums made history. Yes, everything went well. We have just finished the crib. If I do not happen to hear from you before, have a very merry Xmas to you and yours!!

the little children sounds very funny and really cute:) everyone is expecting the coming year so do i but i broke up with my boyfriend at this moment so it seems i will spent a lonely Christmas:( but anyway i believe things will be ok so wish everyone a Happy new year and Merry Christmas!!!

Hi Rachel, First of all, I must say sorry to Chris because I misspelled him name. I'd love to remind him it's a forgivable time as Chrismas is approaching fast.Rachel, could you tell him I am begging for his mercy,please... I’m still in Lincoln, and my life here has not been changed significantly since I communicated with you. To move onto entertaining bored and demanding children,Whenever we are on a long journey We endlessly talk about cars and motorbikes –what kind of cars, how big engine sizes or how many horse power they have, which country the cars and motorbikes are from, Who and when and what year won the world championship driver in F1, rally, touring car and so on. You name it. It’s the best way to kill the time for my hubby and our son but it’s deadly boring and it drives me insane. I’ll be a very weird and odd alien in the car, and I’ll be ignored by the two car nerds through the whole journey if I suggest to sing a song like Old Macdonald had a ... . ( Hmm… do I exaggerate it a bit?). I have been rambling on afar but it might not be your cup of tea to amuze your children. Your advice is so valuable and I'll definetely try it soon. My son’s school break has just started so I am planning to take him to a cinema by a train today. It’s all white all over the town . I wish I could send some snow to Owen and Daniel to play with. I wish all the best to you and your family with full of warm hugs and kisses.

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