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Monday, 23 July 2012

Cherry Picking

I went picking cherries yesterday. I looked up and decided that this is the view of paradise. I wanted to just lie down on the grass and wait for them to drop into my mouth...yumm!

Here is our chief picker grabbing as many as she could reach to fill her basket. We were kindly informed to test the cherries on the trees before picking them - quality control. We took this to heart until our hands and mouths were stained deep purple. The basket handle broke not much later, more a cause of the basket being very old than too many cherries?!?

The trees the branches were heavy with juicy cherries. Finally I experienced the difference between normal cherries and the sour cherries by tasting them side by side. The sour are so full of juice they are amazing, but sour. Of course better for cooking. I am now going to start my sour cherry cooking frenzy.

There are not only cherries but apple and pear trees as far at the eye can see. There is a pink spec in the distance. Some little friend of mine wanted to get a few early green apples. She was treated to a private tour of some apple trees.

Following our cherry, plum and apple picking it was time to fill our stomachs with more yummy things.

A huge thanks to Heiko and Pansy for the generous invitation and a wonderful afternoon.

Monday, 16 July 2012

A bit of Jazz and Laurie

Last night we saw Hugh Laurie (aka Dr House) and his Copper Bottom Band. It was in the lovely Hamburg Stadt Park (city park). A place we had not vet visited. A great city park that is well worth more time in good weather and when you are not running late to find the concert venue. In a small corner of the park there is the stage surrounded by very tall hedges and trees. It was an intimate outdoor venue, so perfect for a blues/jazz/comic performance.

We passed several groups seated on a grassy verge outside the venue with picnics and BBQ's to just hear the concert and avoid paying the entry fee. In true German style the beer was flowing and the curry-wurst overpowering the senses...although we did not let the smell of fried substances lure us into buying one! But the beer, well, when in Rome! There were a few close calls with the clouds sprinkling rain from the heaven but it was just that - a few drops.

The stage was arranged like a living room, with overhead chandelier, a curious display of lamps and even a persian rug by the piano. Midway Hugh arranged a whiskey round for the band to ensure all were well lubricated. Each song was premised by some Hugh ramblings which were quite humorous. In fact the whole band seemed to enjoy playing together, so a very relaxed and funny evening.

The outdoor stage has a summer line up that includes The Pogues, Simple Minds (we can't forgot about them..haha), Norah Jones and someone called Lotto King Karl. Something for every taste.

This ended a week of performances. Last Sunday we saw over 200 locals perform in a marathon 3 hour long dance show. It was held together with a Alice in Wonderland theme and the Mad Hatter searching for his hat. Aged from 5 to over 50 everyone put in 100% effort in their tap, jazz, modern and other dance routines. Here is the whole cast at then of the show. M now wants a pair of tap shoes. I said we would need to find lessons but she firmly believes that with only the shoes he feet will Move like Jagger or possibly Ginger Rogers ;-)

And last but no least M performing in her MUTical called Paula's Dream. Each class danced to a different part of the dream.

Her class were the "square" part of the dream, so did lots of geometric moves.

Here is the whole school to receive the applause they deserved. M is in the middle of the photo at the front.

Next week we are back in Hamburg for a Balkan Brass Band play this space!

Friday, 13 July 2012

Thursday Arvos

That's "Thursday afternoons" for the non-Aussie readers. Making the most of our semi-rural living, Marlene goes horse riding each week. She has done this for almost 2 years and still seems keen on owning her own horse one day. A dream she will need to fulfill without her parents involvement! That is not to say we don't like horses but the thought of owning one seems overwhelming to the non-horse enthusiast.

First let me introduce you to a few of my friends. I have given them my own names. Here is Cappuccino...she thinks quite highly of herself as you can see in her confident pose.

Cappuccino shares a stable pen with Macchiato. Although share might be a little strong as Cappuccino is quite the attention seeker. Even as I tried to take a photo of Macchiato I was muscled out of the way. Is this a blond thing?!?

Marlene was riding an Islandic horse today. A step up from her usual ponies. She did very well given the horse can hardly feel the 20kg on top of it. They have the most gorgeous manes. The Islandics can also do an extra type of running called tolt. But today they were doing the usual trotting and galloping - not that I know anything really. So no more questions please, its just a brown horse and I drive a black car.

Here are all 4 riders going round and round (the technical term) as the dark clouds gather.

An attempt at an action shot. I am not sure that she was going so fast. It's possible the camera was so slow that its a little out of focus. And yes there is the little sister looking on from the sidelines.

We then headed to a swimming pool which was a complete disaster. We need an official certificate that she can swim 50m, and it was a chance to get it. It was 15 degrees C ( I read the thermo at the pool) and it also said the warmed outdoor pool water was 23 degrees....insert belly laugh. Given Marlene stayed in for a total of 35 seconds before leaping out shivering, I think it might have been a tad cooler. Mind you I can not blame her as it was steadily raining and I did not feel like standing poolside getting drenched whilst she waited in line in the water for her time to swim the 50m. We all came home for a hot chocolate and I noticed the heated towel rail had switched itself on in the bathroom. Welcome to summer in the North!

 Sorry Cappuccino, did you want to add something?

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

A rose by name and nature

The roses have bloomed! There are some spectacular examples as we stroll through the village. There were several months of expectation with buds and small bits of green popping up. But now the place is a veritable forest! The barren grey landscape that we walked for months and months is completely transformed.

This is Sabines house with the most enormous climbing rose covering the front of the house.

Its almost 3 stories high and seems to be too heavy to be clinging onto the house but somehow it is hanging in there!

I imagine this was once the front door but now a lovely garden display with very full pink roses climbing each side framing the door nicely.

Hard to capture, but this is part of more than 10 metres of rose bushes growing along the side and fence of this house. Just stunning. Something to put on smile ones face each day ;-) ....even if we are still waiting for a fully fledged summer to arrive.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Like Buda and Pest - America and Russia unite!

The other weekend Ron and I travelled to Budapest. Actually we stayed mostly on the Pest side as we were having a kids free weekend. Having lived 3 years in Budapest in the Buda hills, we know where the action happens....Pest Baby!

This was where we stayed..the 2 week old Buddha-Bar hotel. Its at the great location on the corner of Vaci Utca and the Erzsébet híd (Elizabeth bridge). A gorgeously renovated building with a "matching" building on the other side of the road. Although our side was far superior than the seedy casino opposite. We even when to the Buddha-Bar attached to the hotel which was cool if not yet well frequented.

We caught up with Stella and Christopher from Finland who had also decided on a childless weekend. Stella and I wore coordinating dresses to the wedding.....

Oh yes the reason we were there...a wedding. An American (our friend Liam, formally known as the "7th wheel") and Russian combination. They looked a sweet couple and the ceremony was in the Russian Orthodox Church.

This is when they walk around 3 times with the best man and lady behind them holding crowns above their heads. This was towards the end of the ceremony and they had been holding those crowns for a good half hour.

We did not understand anything but it was a lovely with lots of Russian chanting and excessive incense.

Finally we left the church with the newly married couple and were off on a boat ride along the Danube.

But first there were photos in the height of the afternoon heat. It was a superb day. Maybe too hot for some, but us Northeners loved every scorching minute of the weekend.

Whilst at the reception the "Floating Bus" went by. The tour started up as we were leaving Budapest. We never went on it as we were too worried about how to swim to shore with our young kids. But I managed to take a pic as it floated by the reception boat, surreal.

All in all a fantastic weekend. And we must say Budapest is looking great. They have really cleaned up the place, so can only recommend it for super city break. We hope to be back again soon. Szia!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


The Aussie Oma and Aussie Opa recently visited. This meant on-tap babysitting. Perfect when you have 3 unplanned visits to the dentist the week they are here ;-(

Our kids relished the time. They were "warmed up" with so many presents from every relative in Australia that you could have mistaken it to be Christmas at our place.

On the last afternoon there was a rush of photo taking. The evidence follows....

I draw your attention to the top left of the garden in the photo. It is a rather large zucchini plant that has about 15 flowers, so we are looking forward to 1001 things to do with zucchini in the next couple of weeks!

M and Aussie Oma above and with Aussie Opa below.

A family picture above. And with the help of neighbour Sabine we managed to get a photo of us all together...although with kids and animals you are never quite sure how it will turn out. Goldie was determined to be in the photo, even if we saw her least attractive side below.

Ami shows her style with a special hair clip from Aussie Oma!

"A" hangs out with Aussie Opa. The animation in her face is due to the fact that she is trying to scare away the monster (Papa Ron) with the mouse attachment of her kiddies computer.

COOL - we zapped him!