19 June 1984

Letter: Darwin Door

Letter from Darwin 19 / 6 / 84

Its the most amazing thing - Alison has been banging on the back door (inside) since about 7:30 this morning saying "Door! Door!" ... but when I opened the door she just ran in and out crying. Until finally I opened the door and said, "OK, time to go to crèche!" and she ran out happily saying "play!" After being so unsettled in Cairns, both kids are really happy here, and Alison lets people pick her up too.

James's "little" friend, Nathan, has continued to grow like a weed - at least they can talk to each other now - and is a good six inches taller than James (although he is 8 days younger) so James has inherited Nathan's tiny 2-wheeler (with trainer wheels) bike - Nathan now has a bigger one. Alison has been lent a little plastic horse on wheels, a nice stable one - some of those things can be rather deadly! - so she's very pleased too.

We've actually been getting a few things done with the kids off at crèche all morning, and also being able to amuse themselves for short periods of time when they are back at home.


Peter is getting stuck into our "phonology statement", and I'm trying to catch up with some of the letters we didn't get done in Cairns.


I am still enjoying my new frizzy hair cut. The hairdresser gave Peter a demo of how to cut my hair - later when the perm grows out. She even gave us a little lesson in how to do the kids' hair. With mine she started off by doing a 'one snip cut' - brushed it all straight up above my head and then cut it off, that way is comes out in graded lengths.

The kids are quite agreeable to my new hair ... for the first few days I kept finding James having a good long stare, then he'd say, "I like your fuzzy hair, Mummy." Alison just kept looking with a funny little Mona Lisa smile ... at least she doesn't grab hold and say "Dong!" like she used to. (Funny how she related my plaits to the church bell-rope!)

Baby no. 3

The baby is officially due August 6th ... if I don't burst before then. It is such a lively baby - they say that means it must be healthy, don't they? Awfully uncomfortable though. My first visit to the hospital clinic is tomorrow - I have a head full of questions I want to ask if I get a chance, but usually these clinics are so busy they just sort of rush you through - that's why it was so late in the day before they realised I was going to have problems with Alison. At least they have my records here.

James and Ali

Talking of Alison, we really have no idea of how she is going to react to the new baby. She and James are very close, though, they really look out for each other. If they have been separated for an hour or two they make up for it with a big cuddle and lots of kisses - they just like kissing and cuddling! And when they play together we still hear the screams and cries that are normal with kids playing, but we also hear an awful lot of apparently meaningless giggles.

Our car

We have been lent a car for a few days - a Toyota lite-ace van, bright yellow thing. Peter is not keen on spending tomorrow afternoon hanging around the hospital with two kids to mind while I queue at the clinic, so I had better learn to drive the thing. I much prefer the little Coronas etc that we can hire out of the car pool here, though its nice not to have to return it by a stated time. At least it should be easier to fit behind the wheel of the van.

Teething troubles

Well, the morning has gone. They rang me from crèche to say that Alison was crying, so I went over there and put her down for a sleep in one of the cots there. She's a bit 'sooky' right now with teething, so I'm surprised she goes to crèche at all. Her teeth have come through in all the wrong order. She had 'fangs' first before the middle ones, now she looks like she has eight teeth but actually there's a gap between the front ones and quite a few back ones have come through already. Teething has really given her a rough time with fever, runny nose etc ... and soon its time for her to have her measles injection.

Washing kids' clothes

So I must (again) get the washing into the machine - aren't automatic machines wonderful! With this cool weather (down to 17 degrees last night, and cool, dry and windy all day) the kids go through so many clothes - I fill the washing line every day. We've made good use of the local Pope shop and Savvy Army too. Alison has quite a pile of nice little dresses now, and I can afford to keep changing her when she gets dirty.

05 June 1984

Letter: Carpentaria House, Cairns

Letter from Cairns 5 / 6 / 84

A couple more days in Cairns - and the pace continues as hectic as ever.

After two weeks in the caravan we were really worn to a frazzle, the kids were sick, and it looked like the rain was here to stay. It was pretty grim!

We went to the Anglican Church - St John's - and there we were found by a couple we had met in the little Anglican church we went to in Darwin - we would never have recognised them, but they remembered us. So we were invited out to lunch, introduced to others, and invited out by them too! Well, somebody suddenly remembered "Carpentaria House", which belongs to the diocese of Carpentaria (which includes Murray Island) and is available to people passing through, missionaries etc.

Its actually two houses - it used to be a doctor's house and surgery. So we've had the surgery part to ourselves these last two weeks. There's a slightly eccentric caretaker lady who lives in the big house and likes to burst in at all odd times, but her heart's in the right place and we've just about got used to her.

The wonder of doors

It took Alison a whole week to stop getting lost inside the house. She trailed around hanging onto my skirt, and screamed if I went out of sight or if anyone closed a door. Doors are a totally new experience to her - we have none inside the house on Murray Island where she has spent her whole short life thus far. So ... I don't know how she'll take our next move ...

New 'do'

Pity I don't have a photo of me to include - I went and had my hair "frizzed". Never having been permed before, and after years of being pulled into plaits and buns, it didn't come out in a tight frizz like I wanted - like the Island women! - but I do have a nice curly mop. Its a great improvement, makes me feel a lot better. And its one of those "wash-and-wear" easy-care perms.

Big bub - or 2?

The baby continues to grow at quite an alarming rate. With 9 weeks to go I look like I'm a week or two overdue! At least I haven't put on weight all over this time, its all out in front. I feel quite well - and look healthy - most of the time, just patches when I feel thoroughly rotten. The baby is very alive and lively. I'm looking forward to an ultra-sound as soon as I get to Darwin to be reassured that its not twins.

New fangled gear

We have our new video camera, it all arrived yesterday, and we sat up late last night trying to work out how it all works. It's incredibly complicated. We did a little practice film, but couldn't seem to play it back through our monitor (a 5" screen TV). We went back to the shop today and discovered there was a secret panel (more knobs!) we hadn't found on the TV.

This has all been written under great duress - with Alison "helping". James is watching Play School on our tiny TV. Must think about cooking tea before Peter gets home.