Surf it!


Couchsurfing is a world of fun!!

This, friends, is geography, social studies, LOTE and (ahem!) socialization all in one glorious, rich, natural learner package. And it’s free. No expensive curriculum required. But you do need a.. ah.. couch.

If hospitality is your thing, it’s easy to set up a profile at  There is space to describe skills you have to share and things you’d like to learn.  Someone in your house learning Spanish? Mention it in the skill share space, and you could find yourself with a native speaker to practice with. Have a passion for music? Mention it, and play with musicians from around the world.

After writing a profile, you can either sit back and wait for people to ask to stay with you, or you can browse people who have posted requests to stay in your area.

Here is Max. He spent a long, long time learning all about biology.  He came to stay with us for three days; three very fun days of sharing our culture with a first time visitor to Australia. Did you know Germans don’t eat banana and walnut sandwiches? Or how they feel about the world wars?  We know things now about Germany that you won’t read on Wiki.


Here we are at the Daisy Hill conservation centre: Max is meeting his first koala.





With Juls and Daniel, two German musicians with lots of personality!

juls and daniel



While there ARE baddies out there, there are also a lot of interesting, gifted, generous people in the world.  This is a wonderful way to meet them, and to share a little of the Australian way of life with an international visitor.


Go on.. be daring! 😀



couch surfing



Hello Carbon Tax….


…Goodbye Australia’s industry.

It’s a rare day that I am so angry that I am speechless.

*note to self:

I don’t believe in political assassination.

I don’t believe in political assassination.

I don’t believe in political assassination.

I don’t believe in political assassination….

Ahoy! It’s the HMB Endeavour


I swear, bloggy friends, it’s not just so I could have another post with pirate speak.  Truly!  The HMB Endeavour, a replica owned by the Maritime Museum, is in Brisbane.  If you live nearby RUN to see this before it moves on.  It’s that good.

If you don’t live anywhere near Brisbane, check the website to see if it will be at a port near you.  It’s recommended that you wear closed shoes – I had sandals on and survived, but there is some tricky climbing and the decent from the gangway is steep, so I grant that joggers or something more sturdy than sandals would have been better.  There are no prams or large bags allowed and children must be 90cm tall or over to be admitted.  If you take a camera bag or backpack, you may leave it in a locker and redeem it with a ticket (much the same as you would at the art gallery).

The staff are very friendly and offered to book us as a school group, which meant we could appoint a time to go through.  I recommend you go that route if you have small children, as the wait can be long if you go on a day when the schools are taking classes aboard.

The downloadable pdf self guided tour brochure is worth reading, even if you can’t make it to the ship.  Did you know the expression “Let the cat out of the bag” came from the cat of nine tails? It was kept in a baize bag and, obviously, removed when there was discipline to administer.  So too the expression “No room to swing a cat” came as below deck where the whip was kept was too cramped to apply it, and it had to be done above deck.  You can read these and other gems in the self guided tour brochure.

See how easily Blossy, who is 3, walks through to the Captain’s quarters?  Mr BB, all six-foot two inches of him,  folded up like a hanky to get through this space.  Most of the viewing of the lower deck requires stooping when moving between viewing areas.

The ship is set up to represent conditions during Cook’s voyage, and the rooms contain clothing, toiletries, books and weapons of the era.

If you are studying Australian history this year, this is a must see. If your children read historical fiction with a nautical flavour, this experience will lend flesh to the skeleton that is literary description.  Friends, it’s well worth a visit. 🙂

Please Feed the Ducks





It was the first time I’d been to Colleges since the flood.  I’m glad it was after they’d started to clean up. It was strangely disorienting to be searching for landmarks that are no longer there. As I walked through the desolation, I thought of Fee’s words on how we are tied to places.

Birthday celebrations,  homeschool park days, days just to explore the river.. the place is choked with memories for me.  But what came closest to tearing me up was the ducks.  Yes, the ducks!  Those previously well fed and inclined to be haughty birds, who have led toddlers too close to the water, frightened my bird phobic friend, and eaten many a bluestocking crust, were hungry.



Ravenously hungry.

If ever a duck begged for food, these few sent a mute appeal that was undeniable, and I had nothing to feed them.  How bad did I feel?!  There is nothing like having something look to you for deliverance, and having to walk away.  To make sure I left with my heart adequately wrenched, they proceeded to follow us up the hill as we walked back.   It’s hard to say if the worse thing was to have them follow us, or when they finally gave up and turned back.  Poor duckies!


Mr BB, not because he cares so much for ducks, but because I do, promised we could return next day with some bread.  Oh, happy ducks!



Fingers were nibbled, at times,  by ducks whose manners were set aside by hunger. 🙂



A loaf of bread vanished as fast as you can say “Who’s a hungry duck, then?”, and it was all over.  We tipped the crumbs from the packet on to the road, and walked back to the car.

Friends, if you live near colleges, and wander down to the river, you will be met by desperate ducks.  Don’t leave home without bread! 😉

Who Has the Sweetest Bloggy Friends in the World?



I do.


Yes, I do. 😀


I’m writing from my little powerbook today, because the swanky MacBook Pro Mr BB bought me recently has suffered a … a hiccup.

While making dinner, I heard a voice with a small quaver assert that, “I was pretending it was an oven.”

I’m making dinner.  If a remark is not addressed to me personally, and it’s not declaring a national emergency, then I’m absorbed in the job at hand. (Hint: multi-tasking is not in my vocabulary!)

Then a little louder, and with a note of rising hysteria, the same little voice wailed, “I was pretending it was an oven!”

All of a sudden there was a cluster of people around little Blossy  and my computer, and everyone exclaiming as one,”How could you?  How could you?”

I realized I was one of those asking the question.  What would possess someone to post a handful of coins into the disk drive of my laptop?  Well, she was pretending it was an oven, of course!

Mr BB growled all sorts of menacing things about voiding warranties, and naughty children and a few things that are less than edifying, though justified: we have a bad, indeed a very bad record with computers..

The next morning, while bearing the dual gloom of my ruined Mac and the disaster brewing up north, something delightful arrived.

Want to see? 😀


I don’t think hand-woven anything exists here, but this is, and made me marvel at the patience and skill that is required to produce it.  The image doesn’t do justice to the richness of the thread; the sides are a deep red, shot through with an even darker colour.






Aren’t they beautiful?  There are not adequate words to describe the feel of these fabrics, or the delight they solicited from the collection of little girls on my bed as we unfolded them.  Who could be glum on such a day?!

So, added to the shoebox treasures from our bloggy friends in Minnesota and Germany, the homeschooling-help-me-keep-records goodies from WA, the kefir from down south, and the snowy photo card from Texas, we have the most glorious scarves from… India!

Who has the sweetest bloggy friends in the world?

I know I do. ♥



p.s… don’t think Mr BB missed out, with all that girly joy happening; he didn’t. But his gift has gone off to work with him, and isn’t here to photograph!

A Little Flood Irony



It’s a wet, wet world out there.

Too Much of a Good Thing


It’s been raining cats and dogs.

Things are becoming dire, friends.  The city is evacuating, and  south east Queensland is in a state of emergency.

Still, I couldn’t help smiling at the thought of the two taking this video.  If my car were parked at the front of this building, and I was watching this happen… stopping to take a video would maybe not be high on my priority list.  But I’m glad someone did it. 🙂

This shows how fast things can happen.


Stay safe, bloggy friends.

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