Back in Peterborough now!

And it hardly seems as if we have been away for almost 10 weeks! The trees are still green, the sun is shining and we are catching up with old friends and looking forward to meeting new ones! Settling into the new house, moving furniture around, buying a few bits and pieces, back to the Farmers Market this morning to fill up the fridge and pantry. It was the outside Big Farmers Market, bulging with beautiful produce, especially excited to eat the strawberries from Niagara and peaches too!  All the beautiful organic veggies! happy days!

a pot luck tomorrow and meeting whoever gathers at the zoo on Monday before Arrowsmith starts again on Monday! Simon had so much positive feedback from friends and family and is keen to start the programme again and see what this year brings! Sharing the house with a fellow student and sending me back to Sydney as soon as possible is a very different start this year compared to last, as well as going into the classroom being a returning student confident about the exercises rather than bring a newbie is much less challenging! Exciting times ahead!

An exciting surprise for me and Simon!

The gorgeous Nancy from her inspiring and humbling blog, Alzheimer’s Wife, has nominated our blog for an award – The Quintet of Radiance award (Richard, I know you will be laughing at this point) but it is a wonderful feeling to know that our blog is being enjoyed by people we haven’t even met (other than online). Our blog was started as a means to share our adventure in Canada with our family and friends and has extended to include so many and so much more and given such a lot back to us.

This is what Nancy said in nominating us:

I also want to nominate fiona and simon who tell their story of moving from Australia to  Peterborough, Canada, so that Simon  could go to a special school where  his learning difficulties could be treated in the Arrowsmith program.  Their daily experiences, travels,  Simon’s progress — all of it is shared with us.

In accepting the award, we have to thank our nominator, so a big thank you to Nancy, I love reading your blog, it is so beautifully written, your love, warmth and humour shine through no matter how stressful or difficult the situation you find yourself in whilst caring for Bo. You are truly inspiring and I feel honoured that you have nominated our blog.

We also have to write something about ourselves in 26 words (and a few more!), so following Nancy’s lead, I asked Lara to do this – this is what she came up with (and I have added some in too):

A true friend no matter the distance
Beautiful/brave
Clever
Diplomatic/dog lover
Ever welcoming
Full of smiles/fun
Glutton for life
Helpful to any in need
Inspiring/insightful
Jolly good fun to party with
Keen to learn new things
Loving/long haired
Mum
Nature loving
Optimistic
Patient/ potato-master!
Quirky
Reader
Simply wonderful/Son
Teacher/traveller
Understanding
Very determined
Wise/walker
Xenodochial
Youthful
Zen

I’d like to nominate Stephen Liddell for his blog where he writes with insight, humour and compassion on a wide range of subjects from World War I to the best complaint letter ever – he makes me laugh as well as to think about things I might not otherwise have thought about (and I usually read his blogs with Simon too).

And also Colour the Moment written by a clearly wonderful Mum  – this is what she says about herself  – This is the home of The Outstanding Wife. It is a blog about the ups and downs of daily life. It covers topics from parenting, to people, to pelvic floors and happiness. And a whole lot of other, everyday things in between.  Warm and witty insights into her world, sometimes heartbreaking as she describes other people’s reactions to her autistic son and sometimes the most beautiful poems – all compulsive reading.

 

I still have a voice!

Well, actually, I haven’t! I know I have been too busy when my voice goes – I think it is my body’s way of saying slow down! it is incredibly frustrating, I realise how much I talk, too much perhaps! I have a lot to say! The upside of not having a voice is that Simon is doing all the talking, which is great, and he is laughing at me!

We have been so busy – Lara and I went to Alice Springs and walked some of the Larapinta track, the scenery was stunning, our group was great, we huffed and puffed and talked and laughed our way along the trail, sat around the campfire talking and laughing.  When Lara first read the itinerary she said “Hardly hiking, Mum, more glamping”. There were glamping aspects, carrying a day pack, having our tents already set up and having good wholesome food cooked for us at the end of each day but some of the walking was challenging, especially the summit to sunrise, climbing Mount Sonder from 3am to greet the sunrise in temperatures of -12! Who knew it could be that cold in the Northern Territories! She conceded that it was a “hiking” holiday as we walked back down, amazed at what we had walked up – we all decided if we could have seen where we were walking on the way up we would not have done it! 

Whilst we were walking, Simon went to Melbourne to have two days with Stella, visiting the gorillas in Melbourne Zoo  (on a gorilla encounter – his birthday present from Stella – thank you!) which he really enjoyed. He and Stella met up with Amanda – they are looking forward to sharing a house together soon! Simon also went up to Pearl Beach with his friends from TAFE and had a good time, despite the constant rain!

We’ve had a stream of visitors, dinners at home, dinners out. Lunches, afternoon tea and breakfasts too! The crowning glory was Michael’s 65th birthday celebration (is he really that old!?)  – a sixties party, which was FUN!  So many fabulous costumes, so many great wigs, so many transformations it was hard to recognise everyone! Double takes, hooting with laughter as we all recognised each other under the wigs and make up!

And in the meantime, we have had long Skype phone calls from Emma telling us all about the interesting places she has been visiting on her travels and all the fun she is having.

I have been summoned by Simon to pack my suitcase, even though we don’t leave until Thursday – he doesn’t want me packing at the last minute! “And getting stressed and cranky, like you usually do, Mum!”. And I thought I was always so calm! Ha!

Sydney days

Writing the blog has been rather haphazard over the past few weeks since our regular Peterborough life finished as the Arrowsmith academic year finished. And I don’t know about Simon but I have missed it! I know I won’t remember half the things that we have done without it, my brain not having undergone the Arrowsmith programme!  Apart from the lack of memory, it is good to reflect upon the day at the day’s end.

The last while has been full of activity, I can’t remember (see?) what I have mentioned before so please forgive any inadvertent repetition, we have had beautiful dinners with friends, exchanging news, laughing together, afternoon tea drunk from delicate china, Simon making plans and going to see his friends, going back to De Porres house to help prepare dinner and enjoy playing Uno as he did on so many Tuesday evenings whilst doing his service for his Duke of Edinburgh award, as well as cramming in all those things we can’t do in Peterborough, visits to dentists, doctors, optometrists etc, having Stella for the weekend, going to Taronga zoo with Simon,  seeing the deeply moving “Still Life” film, seeing the Archibald Prize, another highlight being the fun of Lara coming home from her travels, with Laura, and the tales of their adventures, and a slide show of their wonderful photographs (and those of Emma’s too!), the house filled with people and noise, sometimes too much noise, lovely flowers in my kitchen, Sunday afternoon sailing on sparkling Sydney harbour, going to yoga with Cheree – tough but oh so good, walking Rusty the length and breadth of Balmain, tidying the study so Michael can no longer find anything but at least we can see his desk and so much more besides.

Today whilst Simon had a tennis lesson with his coach from Riverview, I took Rusty for a walk through the beautiful, no a better word is stunning, grounds, and then onto a track through the bush alongside the Lane Cove river which then wound its way inland towards River Road. There was a moment when I had to stop and gaze at the sheer heart stopping beauty of where Rusty and I  found ourselves, accompanied by kookaburras laughing, a truly magical place, only moments from houses but seemingly in the middle of nowhere, a real good to be alive moment, shared with my dog! That moment gave me back the energy I feel I have been lacking for a while so here I am again – sorry Richard! And for everyone else, I’d love to know what you have been doing all summer/winter!

At the going down of the sun and in morning, we will remember them

I think this is such a great post that I had to share it. What a fitting tribute to such a terrible war and the loss of so many young men. Lest we forget.

Stephen Liddell

So yesterday was the big day, the 100th anniversary of the start of The Great War – The war to end all wars until of course WW2 at least.

Like many other people I spent much of the day watching the live ceremonies from around the country and in France and Belgium.  Reading extraordinary accounts of how burial parties on the western front would encounter nests of wild and fearless rats living inside the chest cavities of the dead soldiers.

Prince Harry at the unveiling of the new memorial arch in Folkestone. Prince Harry at the unveiling of the new memorial arch in Folkestone.

In my book Lest We Forget, I mention how one unfortunate fellow got stuck in the deep mud just a few feet from the duck-boards his colleagues would run across on a daily basis.  He was just out of reach and after initial valiant attempts to rescue him, it was deemed impossible and so day after day…

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