Saturday, July 18, 2009

Day On The Town

Finally! The first free Saturday (mostly) for the family in what seems like six months. Probably no more than eight to ten weeks, really, but it feels longer.

It wasn't entirely free, of course. Had a bloke deliver a load of firewood in the morning, so we had to be home for that. I simply can't keep up, using the chainsaw -- it's so rare to get any time without children underfoot, and I find that children + chainsaw is a really poor mix. Particularly as I'm careful to wear hearing protection, so I have exactly zero chance of monitoring the little bastards while I'm trying to disassemble a deadfall for the family firewood heap...

And since we had to stick around for Firewood Guy, I ducked down to Scottsdale to get some cash, and remembered we were out of bread and milk. Oh, and when I got home it was time to run the pump. And feed the chickens, which meant tying up the dog, which was good because he was still tied up when Firewood Guy arrived, so he didn't try to 'help' us unload the firewood... stupid dog. You'd think after the first five-kilo lump of seasoned eucalypt bounced off his scone he'd figure out that trying to catch flying billets of firewood is a mug's game. Stupid dog.

Anyway, after that we launched the Mighty Earth King, loaded the whole family aboard, and headed for the bright lights of Launceston. By the way: that's pronounced "Laun-cess-ton", for those of you with enough Brit culture to think it might be "launston". And in any case, the point is moot because Tasmanians are just like mainlanders in terms of nicknaming things: it's "Lonnie".

...and in short order, we stopped. Threw Elder Son out of the car. Made him wait on the roadside in the rain until I conferred with Younger Son to ascertain exactly what it was Elder Son was doing that made him repeatedly scream "STOP IT!" Sent Younger Son into the very back seat of the Earth King (an option Younger Son loves) so that Elder Son could be isolated on an edge seat in the middle, out of reach of any siblings.

Fuck, I hate that shit. What is it about being a kid that makes it necessary to find ways to piss off the sibling next to you? I should take to carrying shoes in the front of the car just so I can heave them over my shoulder at appropriate intervals.

Anyway. We made it to Lonnie. Rainy, cold, dark day -- and the legendary "Launceston Mist" was in place. Launceston is at the bottom of the Tamar River Valley, and in winter, for whatever reason, air quality plummets. When you come over the crest of the hills around the town, you can see this long, low cloud lying upon the place. Sometimes it's largely fog. Yesterday, from the bluish tint, there was a metric shitload of woodsmoke in it. The Council is perpetually trying to battle winter wood-heaters: with smoke inspectors, and wood-stove buybacks, and plans to cushion the cost of installing electric stuff, and rules about insulation and so forth. Meanwhile, the wood heater afficionados point the finger at Forestry Tasmania and various burn-offs around the place.

Whoever is to blame: in winter, you can just about cut the air around Launceston with a cheese fork.

Big day in town:
  • new fiddle for the Younger Son, much to his delight. He's been putting in the hard yards in practise, and he's done a little growing, so he's earned an upgrade and an upsize. Must say, the new fiddle sounds much nicer.
  • Visit to the secondhand bookstore. Why am I constitutionally incapable of just handing old books over to the Salvos? I don't need more books, do I? Ahhh, who am I kidding? I always need more books.
  • Groceries
  • Obscure batteries for a range of offbeat devices, including the dog-collar and its remote.
  • minor odds and sods of clothing...
  • new music for me -- something from Marrakech that looked interesting
  • new Wii game for Nat: Wii Music, which seems to fit her recent gameplay
...and the great treat of the day: Ice Age 3. In 3d.

Oh, lucky me.

Actually, it wasn't as dire as I expected, even though the theatre was packed with families and munchkins. (Something to do with the rain and the cold, I expect.) I admit, I'd thought that the Potterflick would siphon away some of that action, but I guess I was wrong. It wasn't too awful, anyhow. Simon Pegg's "Buck Weasel" character was good for a few laughs, and it was interesting seeing this new 3d process up close and personal.

Truth? I don't really give a f__k about the 3d thing. It doesn't add anything significant to my filmgoing experience. I don't much like wearing the stoopid glasses (and they kept falling off the Mau-Mau's button nose) and the novelty of a sense of depth on the screen doesn't really keep my interest for very long. I can't see a reason why this wave of 3d mania should last any longer than the previous ones... but then, I'm an appalling judge of what people will like, especially when it comes to fundamentally stupid memes, fads and crazes. Who knows? Maybe we'll be stuck seeing everything through Clark Kent-ish 3d specs from now on.

So, we finished our marvelous movie experience, and shambled off through the rain to the Mighty Earth King. This time I just separated the kids from the outset, and we made it home just fine.

Rain, wood fire... new books to read... new game for Nat... tired kids... sometimes winter evenings are cosy. This one wasn't bad. I made gourmet burgers for dinner, with spinach and rocket and ripe tomatoes and cheese, and seasoned mince burgers and bacon (and a chili/lime/salt marinated chicken fillet for Natalie) on toasted hunks of ciabatta... all good. Then the kids went off to bed, and Natalie and I opened a bottle of wine and sat down to watch the rest of the new Torchwood mini-series thing.

I've had worse days.