For several weeks we’ve been looking forward to an entire weekend of Alice staying with us. This was the first time she’d be coming to stay from Friday night through to Sunday evening and so we made plans.
Then we discovered that Sean’s dad would be coming to stay for the same weekend and it was then I realised we were in for some busy times. Sean’s dad and Alice have only met a few times but have become rather fond of each other. Add to that they’re both incredibly chatty and, well, you can imagine what my house has been like since Miss A arrived on Friday afternoon. Everyone has gone now and we’re back to it just being us, nice and quiet but I wanted to share a couple of highlights because, as always, Alice makes for a great photo subject.
Saturday morning kicked off with a trip to the National Zoo and Aquarium. If you’re local and have never been because when you drive past you think, as I did, that it looked like there was nothing there, don’t be fooled! It was so much better than I thought. I felt like we were discovering it with Alice and Sean’s niece, who is eleven. Big brown bears, monkeys of several varieties, white lions, a Bengal Tiger, snow leopards and a fabulous aquarium (where Alice and a Giant Grouper from Queensland engaged in a prolonged staring contest).
One of the best bits was Alice chasing a kangaroo. The zoo has a big open area where several placid kangaroos, emus and wallabies sit under the shade of trees and wait for marauding children to accost them.
At the Bengal Tiger enclosure, it took a lot of effort to see the tiger. She paced up the back of the enormous space and only made a few appearances. Alice had the best view, perched on top of Sean’s shoulders. I think in this photo they both look like they’re on safari.
As if a full day at the zoo wasn’t enough, we had dinner with friends at their house last night and then took Alice to the annual Pumpkin Festival at nearby village, Collector, today. That was a crazy idea we had – we arrived late by which time it was a lot hotter than we expected and incredibly crowded. Lining up for food was a trial we had to just endure and we forgot to pack Alice’s hat. Sean marched around with her on his shoulders for ages while I lined up (it makes spotting them in a crowd easy when you see a small blonde headed girl high above the sea of faces).
Finally fed, we went exploring the stalls and the main attraction, the giant pumpkins. I love that a local village holds this festival. It’s held when technically it would be Halloween in the southern hemisphere. It makes so much more sense, don’t you think, for the darkening of the world to be celebrated when this part of the world is actually darkening. If I was inclined towards Halloween, I’d be much happier to celebrate in in early May!
So, the giant pumpkins were a treat. We were looking forward to seeing Alice’s reaction to them. One of her current most used phrases is ‘there it is’ and she squealed that in front of every single giant pumpkin.
She was so taken with them that when we bought a couple of pumpkins from a stall holder, she promptly adopted the smaller of the two. Punkin became the word of the day and on the way home she nursed the pumpkin in her lap and kissed and hugged it like a pet. Once home, I was able to get a picture of her giving her Punkin some love and affection.
Who knew that it was possible to LOVE a pumpkin? We sent it home with her once it became clear, after Mummy and Daddy arrived, that she was so very attached to it. She’s a funny girl.
So as you can see, we had a very full weekend. I had crafty stuff planned but I don’t think I realised how long some of our outings were going to take. Each day we arrived home exhausted and in need of quiet rest time (and to recover from two year old tantrums in big, dusty paddocks).
The crafty stuff can wait. I’m gathering ideas though!