25 September 1983

Letter: Full House

Letter 25 / 9 / 83

We have a full house these days. Not only is Peter D here, but last year's school principal, Dave E, is spending a week with us. Our outside study/guest room has a cement floor now (2-3 days very hard manual labour by Peter and Peter) but no walls, so we are chock-a-block inside here. Peter and Dave are occupying the study/living room, and our little fold-away camping table in the dining room end of the kitchen is rather over-taxed. At least the guys all help with the washing-up. Evenings get a bit hectic trying to care for James and Alison and cook a proper meal (with dessert "because we have visitors") while the men are usually battling it out trying to use up every last skerick of daylight.

The painting's done, the roof is trimmed and ready for the ceiling to be fitted this week, and my kitchen sink is installed - on bamboo legs and complete with a drain facility, but no taps. Peter D even made James a little bed out of packing crate wood (the crate the sink came in) and I painted it green (that being the only colour in the store) to match his fluffy green mat on the lovely yellow floor! The bed is only 4'10" long and 2'6" wide, and quite low, which makes a lot more space in his room.

Kids antics

Alison is a tin of worms these days. Changing her nappy is a real nightmare. She's almost crawling ... any day now, we keep saying. She keeps getting up on her hands and knees and swaying like a praying mantis.

James has his ups and downs these days. I try to make time for him, with school holidays and all, and he manages to take up most of my day other than cooking, cleaning, and changing Alison's nappies. But he craves Peter, Peter D or Dave's attention - and invariably gets into trouble when he tries to 'help' them. Poor little chap, we've had endless dirty pants and puddles on the floor since Peter D came. Dave has more time for him than Peter and Peter, so he often shadows him, but he can't work out what is going on when Dave smokes!

New phone

Murray Island got a new phone the other day. From Dec 4 we'll be able to dial (at present we just pick up and listen for the operator) - but only "local" TI numbers. In "a couple of years" they've promised STD! Anyway, the helicopters brought the technicians in, and the pilot let James sit in the cockpit - but he was frightened that it might take him away or something. Meanwhile, Peter D went and scrounged the old phone! We use the crate the fridge came is as a change table, and underneath/inside is James' cubby. So Peter D installed the old phone in there.

James enjoys the tape - don't know if I mentioned it before. He won't prance around, he sits up tall and still, for half an hour at a time. We can even put the head-phones on him and he'll sit or lie still for at least an hour!

Ali has changed a lot - neat little cheeks (hardly chubby at all, though she eats almost as much as James) and blond hair. Her eyes are grey, but lighter than James'. They're a funny pair - J and A - seem to march to the same drumbeat ... dirty pants seem to always come in two's in this household, for instance! Yesterday James went to sleep about 2pm and didn't wake until 4am today. Of course Ali had to be up at 4am too.

This week they plan to burn off the hill - we need to clear well around our place. Its been raining hard yesterday and today, so it might be a bit green by Tuesday when they try to burn.

Well, there goes the bell for Evensong, time for the evening onslaught ... bath Ali, and start cooking tea for these men.

20 September 1983

Letter: Men at Work

Letter 20 / 9 / 83

We are so busy these days with Peter D here to help with the house. The walls are all done now - beautiful! And all the floors except our bedroom, but we've run out of paint. The guys are working on the outside guest room / study now. Next the ceiling - we're looking forward to that. My kitchen sink has arrived, but I need someone to make me a stand for it.

Thanks for the parcel. James loves his paint, and Nathan's shirts. He's recently put on a growth spurt though and they only just fit him. Alison's sun bonnet is great. She's very cute and wriggly these days. (Changing her nappies is a nightmare!) Her hair is quite blonde now. and she sits for a few seconds at a time. She's almost completely weaned too.

Must rush and get breakfast for the men, and me too I guess. James is home from kindy on mid-term "yellow-day" (as he says). He's been going to kindy a full half-semester now, hasn't lost interest, and he's learning so much. You should hear him sing "Twinkle Twinkle" - with actions. His words are "bumboo bumboo didi gar ... "