Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Last week my grandparents reached an amazing milestone: sixty years married. They are pictured here with their five children and five children in-law. The picture is taken in the back garden of the house they bought when my dad (standing directly behind Grammie and Grandad) was an infant. I am so pleased for them and hope that I can also reach such a goal. (Although even if I am married for my whole life, we might not reach our sixtieth anniversary!) We feel pleased that we are now quite close to our five year anniversary.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


Micah and Anna have a big world map on their dining area wall. They have small sticky dots that mark the places they have been (which is defined as at least one night). Ant and I were talking at dinner today about where we have been (Micah and Anna were out so we were on our own.) Until now, we have visited places only in Europe and North America. And this is the first time we have visited the Southern hemisphere. On our return journey we get to spend three days in Hong Kong. This is a picture we took in the Hong Kong airport because of the rising hills behind the plane. We are looking forward to a totally different cultural experience when we go there.

Australia feels like quite a similar culture. The supermarket feels Canadian and the train stations feel English. Today we slept really late and relaxed at the apartment; we didn't go into the city at all. (Daytime TV seems to be the same types of things as well.) We picked up a few things at the grocery store across the road for dinner. On the way back we walked through this small park. Micah and Anna's apartment building is the white brick building hidden behind the trees at the end of the park on the left. (You might need to click on the picture for a bigger view!)

I cooked up a small storm in the small kitchen.

I was trying out a recipe I read online today, Butternut Squash and Red Lentil Dal. Yum. Micah and Anna have the biggest and most diverse spice and herb collection I have ever seen. I could make anything using their supplies.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

welcome to Sydney

Wow--the massive journey is over. And actually we don't feel too bad. What I thought might be 24 hours of continuous, awake travelling was actually two night flights with a short day in between. We took off from Heathrow at about 11 pm Friday night. We were served a nice meal and then we straight away took sleeping tablets and nodded off. (Ant and I were both determined to sleep and Ant had also survived an extremely busy week at work.) I think we managed to sleep for about seven hours! Then we had breakfast and the flight landed in Hong Kong at 5 pm local time: Saturday. We walked around the airport while the plane was refuelling. Then we boarded again and took off for our second night flight. Another evening meal and then sleeping tablets and off to sleep. We slept for another five hours and then landed in Sydney: Sunday morning!

Micah came to pick us up at the airport and helped us get to his apartment. It's so great to see Micah and Anna again! Their apartment looks like a real home. Here is their photo wall (all held up with velcro!).

We walked over to the shopping centre over the road and got Micah and Anna a TV set top box so Ant can watch the Grand Prix tonight. Micah enjoyed reading the translated instruction manual.

We are going to have a little nap now. Hopefully then we will be able to stay up for the rest of the day. So far, so good with the jet lag.

Friday, 24 July 2009

packing and away!

Well, we leave for the airport shortly. Ant and I have had a hard time filling these suitcases. They are so roomy and virtually weightless. We are also more modest packers than ever before. So in an effort to fill up my case I added extra pyjama bottoms, and a completely frivolous pair of shoes.

We have checked over and over which airport it is from which we are leaving. I feel confident we will go to the right one this time! I am more than a bit nervous about the long flight. I have got two audiobooks (The Most Wanted Man by John le Carre and Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve), one very large novel (The Constant Gardener, by John le Carre) and one book of short stories (by Carol Shields). I have a Healthy magazine that I have been saving as well. I have my iPod and my computer. Ant brought his own reading and also cribbage and Flux (card games). And there will of course be movies and music on the plane. I also have a supply of Nytol, a sleeping aid. I am determined to get some sleep on this flight. I am sure we will be exhausted, but any sleep is worth it! We arrive early on Sunday morning, so we have the difficult task of staying awake all day when we first get there. I hope Micah will poke me!

Sunday, 19 July 2009

a day of rest

I spent a lovely Sunday today. A few weeks ago we were studying the Sabbath in our home group. I think we all become much more convinced that a day of rest, worship, and serving God was an essential part of our lives. Today I really had a good day or rest. After church I bought The Observer (the Sunday version of the Guardian). I had planned to do this because of the Observer Food Monthly magazine that I wanted to read. After lunch Ant was trying out his new Wii game and I was curled up on the couch with my many newspaper sections, including the Food Monthly. I think I sat there, reading, for about an hour and a half. It was so nice to relax properly--quite often I am quite driven to do chores when I am at home, or to worry about them if not actually do them. This was a nice change that I think I will repeat again soon.

Other parts of my nice Sunday included a great church service, veggie laden food, baking a loaf of Irish Brown Soda Bread (below), and doing a little clearing of clutter. How was your Sunday?

Saturday, 18 July 2009

getting ready for the holidays

Ant and I went out and did a handful of errands today. The most important thing was that we needed new suitcases. We are travelling to Australia next weekend and the baggage restrictions are tighter than on our usual flights to Canada. So we bought the Domo Sub-0-G cases--apparently the lightest suitcases in the world! The two cases we bought were the same outside measurements as our current big cases (although the shop sold a bigger size!) and they only weigh 2.65 kg each. Our current big cases weigh 4.6 kg (American Tourister) and 5.6 kg (Samsonite). The luggage allowance is one 20 kg bag each--so the bag is now only 13% of the allowance instead of up to 25%.

We also got some earplugs, and we intend to try them out this week. We got a small luggage spring scale, so we can take it with us and weigh our luggage before our return trip as well (we are so nerdy!). Ant got some books for the trip. We bought two compression bags to try out--they hold about two sweaters, and they have a one-way valve so you can squish all the air out after sealing the bag.

We are starting to get really excited. We are both desperately in need of a relaxing break from work. We can't wait to see Micah and Anna and a few other friends as well!

Monday, 13 July 2009

happy birthday to Ant!

Last week it was my wonderful husband's birthday. It was the ninth anniversary of his twenty first birthday...! I love his big smile and how he makes me laugh. He always knows how to perk me up and he's so supportive of me. I love him. x

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

upcoming baking?

I have never been a big baker. But I am starting to warm to the idea of making some bread (Mum, are you proud?). Here are a few recipes I reckon I could try since they are all rated easy in some aspect--time spent or work involved.

Irish Brown Bread--It's a quick bread, so I think it will suit me. No proving time required. And it's whole wheat.

No-Knead Bread--You mix it in the evening and bake it the next morning, in a pot. Sounds strange. It is talked about on every food blog.

Faster No Knead Bread--An adaptation that takes a lot less time.

Mother, don't be too proud, though. I am still just thinking about making bread. No dough has yet been made!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

career building

This week I spent a day at a maths teaching conference at the University of Hertfordshire, just north of London. I presented this poster stand during coffee breaks and also got to attend some sessions and lectures. The stand next to mine was a lot more colourful and this meant I didn't get into too many conversations with the delegates! But it was fun to go there and learn a few things.