Late as usual! Happy New Year!


We have a wonderful time with the house filled with family and friends, tables filled with laughter, chatter and beautiful food, the kitchen filled with everyone contributing to  long lunches followed by nightly feasts, card games and other games keeping us up late, the occasional  evening watching DVDs, days of long walks and sailing on our beautiful harbour, floating in the pool, walking on the beach at Pearl Beach, wondering at the wonder of the star-filled skies. It has, as ever, gone all too quickly and the first to leave will be Simon tomorrow, heading back to Peterborough and Arrowsmith. Not really rested with all the mayhem going on, as he puts it, but certainly refreshed! I think he is looking forward to more routine and his quieter life for a a while but he is also looking forward to being home later in the year and putting down roots and moving into a new phase of his life. It has been so good to hear from many people of the changes/progress they see in him (I have to remind some people that improvements is not a good way to describe his changes, at least I don’t think so, the negative connotation being that he was less before).

I am heading out to an Art gallery shortly and just quickly want to wish each and everyone of you the happiest of New Years, and may 2016 be filled with joy, laughter and much love.

I leave you with the words of Neil Gaiman:

May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. And I hope, somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.
...I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.
And for this year, my wish for each of us is small and very simple.
And it’s this.
I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes.
Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.
So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life.
Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it.
Make your mistakes, next year and forever.

– See more at:


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
Diplomatic/dog lover
Ever welcoming
Full of smiles/fun
Glutton for life
Helpful to any in need
Jolly good fun to party with
Keen to learn new things
Loving/long haired
Nature loving
Patient/ potato-master!
Simply wonderful/Son
Very determined

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.


So proud of you, Simon!

It has been a few days since we got home but now we are back, no longer feeling like zombies, back to the glorious harbour in a house that is colder than our apartment in Peterbrough! Back to walking Rusty through our beautiful suburb of Balmain, back to shopping in familiar shops – it feels very comfortable and easy. Back to Pearl Beach, log fires and unusually rough seas, long walks through the National Park to Patonga and back.

Back again to Sydney, rounds of appointments, dentist, optometrist and more, but TODAY was a special day – Simon was awarded his Gold Duke of Edinburgh award, an award that is earnt only through persistence and dedication, months of volunteering, learning a new skill, doing a sport regularly, going on a trip away from home, in his case going to Cape York to help set up a community garden in a very remote Aboriginal community and as a cultural experience interacting with the people thereimage (1) and going on a journey, a hike in New Zealand, both the Northern and Southern Tongariro circuit, unfortunately in the most terrible conditions, but he did it! We are so proud of him! Not that many students make it through to Gold, most stopping after Bronze and more after their Silver which makes Simon’s achievement all the more remarkable.

We are off to celebrate now!
And I don’t know why this didn’t get published but here it is now, rather later than planned! And no time to write anything after that but I will start writing soon!

Sun and a swim


Our 3.15am start yesterday was somewhat challenging!  Worthwhile however once we saw Dubrovnik from the bus. We made it through the chaos of the busy square outside the old town to catch the bus to our hotel in Ladal a little way away. We spent the afternoon by the pool, napping and swimming, watching Roger Federer loose the Men’s Final at Wimbledon, despite our best efforts to encourage him! Down to the beach side for a beautiful dinner with beautiful views.

off to explore Dubrovnik now!

Time is at a premium!

Just a quick, quick post as I have to get to the bank and do lots of other not so exciting things! We are currently in London, with a seemingly endless list of purchases to be made, shopping to be done, furniture to make and sorting all those things that need to be sorted with a new home and no internet for a week! I appreciate that is very much a first world problem but having no instant internet access makes life so complicated nowadays, which only serves to make me realise how addictive the internet is! Not an addiction that is possible to overcome, I fear!

Anyway, apart from all of the above we have had some respite, with Victor cooking us all a magnificent meal on Sunday evening – sending off Lara and Laura on their adventure around Greece and Turkey in great style! I also had a lovely lunch in King’s Road on Monday, in between buying mattress protectors and looking at garden furniture! Simon and Jean took themselves to Hamleys and Fortnum and Mason’s for afternoon tea!  And yesterday, Vicky treated Jean and me to a special day – tickets for Court number 2 at Wimbledon, where we watched some fabulous tennis, enjoyed a Pimms, Moet and strawberries and cream!

I have a moment to catch up with myself whilst everyone else has gone to “Wicked” – Simon’s favourite musical! I am sure they will have a fabulous time. Must dash now but I will post again soon – hopefully the internet will be connected before too long. To those friends I haven’t contacted I apologise but this move has been far more hectic than I ever imagined it might be, and that, despite everyone working so hard. To all our packers,lifters, shoppers, furniture makers, box unpackers, home organisers, you know who you are and a big thank you to each and everyone of you! Arrowsmith seems a long time ago now, even though It has only been two weeks!


Writing 101 days 14 and 15 and Chicago


We are having a great time! Enjoying the sights of Chicago whilst Michael is at his conference. Did I mention that Simon and I went to the Shedd aquarium whilst Emma and Lara did the architectural boat tour, they loved it. The aquarium was so interesting and informative but I feel uneasy about having dolphins and particularly Beluga whales, such clever sensitive animals in a small space. Ribs at Carson’s followed, delicious as ever. Back to our hotel where Michael and I danced to the band in the Palm Court for a while, we enjoyed ourselves, whilst the Tango dancers took themselves very seriously and the Swing dancers swapped partners for each dance! Great dancing and great people watching!
Saturday started with a long walk to the beach and beyond, to the zoo. Is Chicago the only city with a free zoo? What a wonderful thing! So busy by 10am! We watched the gorillas for along time, fascinating but again a little uneasy about them being in such a confined space, but maybe they are safer there than in their natural habit. The jaguar was gorgeous, as was the lioness licking a bone clean, with her barbed tongue, which we read about!
We set off for Eataly, a fabulous shop/restaurant/providore, buying our picnic for the music festival at Rimageavinia. Onto the train, found our spot, got settled cracked open the prosecco and then the storm warning came. We got organised with bin bags for raincoats, but we had NO IDEA! From one moment to the next, the wether changed completely. Howling winds, huge raindrops, trees leaning, lightening flashing and thunder roaring. It was a reminder of the force of nature! We huddled under a tarpaulin but got soaked from the bottom up as the rain turned the ground to med and flooding! I have rarely been so wet! Sensible Simon sheltered I a building and was dry, unlike the rest of us! Eventually the rain subsided a little, we retreated, defeated! Back to our hotel with our soggy picnic!
Getting on the plane now, continued tomorrow!

Writing 101 and my blog


Writing 101 and my blog

Oh my, first world problem. It is hard to keep up with the blog, writing 101’and being a tourist with my family whilst in Chicago!
So, my husband arrived after a long delay and met me at Moto, a fabulous restaurant arranged by my lovely sister and ok brother in law (teehee!) where we enjoyed 8 courses of extraordinary taste sensations, not to mention textures! The most amazing was a course which looked exactly liked a hot dog but was in fact a sponge cake with a raspberry sorbet hotdog! And passion fruit on top which looked like mustard! I think it must be the most unusual taste sensation ever!
And then yesterday we had a great day. We went on the hop on hop off bus tour to get a taste of Chicago! Have to finish tomorrow as we are going out now! Writing 101 will have to wait!