My youngest daughter just recently turned seven years old and has been very excited at the idea of her first grown-up birthday party. What I mean by that is is that this is the first time she can invite along all her schoolfriends rather than just having all family at the event. She spent all weekend making the invitations and writing them out in her own hand, as well as drawing pretty pictures on them to impress all her friends as well as her teacher. We have booked a jumping castle as well as a face painting fairy which I’m sure will brighten the party. My daughter has her heart set on getting a new puppy for her birthday but unfortunately we’re going to have to disappoint her because we have a long vacation booked early next year and there will be nobody at home to take care of the dog. Instead we have bought her a new bicycle as well as a complete fairy costume to wear to the party . The night before the party she was having trouble sleeping saying she was having bad dreams, so I moved the dream catcher into her room and told her it would catch all the bad dreams and she could sleep happily until morning. When the big day came she was up at 5 AM and my wife and I woke to the sound of her putting out the tables and chairs onto the patio as well as getting all the soft drink out of the fridge We had to go explain to her that the party didn’t start until 2 o’clock and that she had lots of time to set everything up. Eventually the time came and all her friends started to arrive in fancy dress and she looked so happy she could burst. She got so many presents that she couldn’t even count them and we had to put some unwrapped on the bottom of her bed for later in the day. Later that night she said it was the best day ever.
Much to my horror last Thursday night I got dragged to a women’s Guild dinner as a fundraising event for the local Rotary club. I was dragged out because I was the only one to own sound equipment that they wanted to use to announce the winners of the raffles and speeches. It was for a good cause so I didn’t mind going but I must admit I was looking forward to the fashion show that was the main event of the evening. My sound equipment was being used to play the music for the models to walk down the catwalk so I had a front row seat to all of the fashions. First up was dinner fashion which included long capes and very stylish eveningwear. I was hoping there would be a swimwear section but unfortunately because it was cold in the middle of winter that didn’t happen. I was pleasantly surprised by a retro 50s fashionware section of the evening which included clothes that I only remember my grandmother wearing. There were some very fashionable aprons as well as very sensible 50 shoes and hairstyles that haven’t seen the light of day for many years. My wife was particularly taken with one of the long summer dresses which I reminded her was a good six months away. She gave me a stern look which made me move away quickly before it became a stern word. By the end of the evening the women had fund raised over $2000 for the Rotary club and everybody and more than a few drinks under their belts. I’m not sure whether my wife realised she had bought more than three or four items because of the number of drinks she had had through the evening. I will have much happiness reminding her in the morning.
Because my wife’s sister hadn’t found anything down the little laneway she wanted to continue on to the other end of town were all the little junk shops located. We wandered our way through the streets past the toffee shops and novelty shops that were clearly just tourist traps selling cheap souvenirs. We prided ourselves that we no longer bought those sorts of goods although I must admit our bottom shelves at home of full of that kind of cheap crap. My wife’s sister is getting remarried in a few months time so she was hoping to find something a little bit different to decorate the wedding venue that would match with her new partners style and fashion. Given that he is a fairly rich Chinese businessmen I think she has a real issue trying to find something that he would like. The first junk shop seem to specialise mostly in teapots and other types of tea making implements. While some of them were very beautiful I couldn’t see that her new partner would find any of them very appealing. He was by nature somebody who liked grand and beautiful things so I didn’t think a teapot no matter how pretty would really intrigue him. The second junk shop was far more interesting and almost straight away she noticed a beautiful sterling silver candelabra that was clearly antique and would look beautiful as a centrepiece on their wedding table. It was only $240 so she purchased it quickly before she had time to think about it. The salesperson was clearly happy and I think candelabra had spent some considerable time in the shop and had been hard to sell. We loaded the candelabra into the boot of the car very carefully so that it would not roll around on the drive back down the mountain. As we made our way down on slippery roads we congratulated ourselves on our fine purchases and vowed we would come back up as soon as possible.
After leaving the teahouse we went further over the mountains to a small village that my wife and I have stayed at on a few occasions and showed my wife’s sister around the little town. The town has been there since 1820 when it was a logging town bringing large pines down to the cities to build many of the buildings that are still there today. The little museum has pictures dating back to the logging days with railroad picnics and other social occasions framed on the wall’s. I really love nostalgia and can stand in front of some of those pictures for hours looking at people and wondering how their lives have worked out. My wife and her sister went for a walk through the main street looking into all the shops and trying to find a bargain. They ended up going down a little laneway were an old men was sitting on a tree stump with some sort of woodwork tools in his hands and fashioning what looked like hat racks and other objects. Now the last thing we need in our house is a hat rack, given that I am almost bald, and that my wife rarely wears a hat because she has luxurious long black hair. I left the museum and joined them outside this quirky little shop and noticed that the old man also made the most fantastic wind chimes which were ringing in the wind and making the most amazing tunes. The wound smelt of sandalwood and I realised how wonderful one of these windchimes would be on our back deck. My wife finally chose one about 4 foot five high that rang a beautiful tune when you banged them against your hand. The old man packaged them up in a brown paper bag and gave it to us with a special mixture of beeswax which we could use to clean the sandalwood and keep it in good condition. My wife’s sister was a little upset because she couldn’t find anything that she wanted to buy herself.
Last Sunday my wife and I decided to go up to the mountains just outside Sydney because her sister was visiting and we wanted to take her to a beautiful place to have morning tea. The day started well with wonderful weather and the first few hours were great as we worked our way up the mountain road. Unfortunately the weather changed and we got a lot of rain about halfway up which caused the windscreen to start to fog and made the roads very slippery. Luckily by the time we got to the top the clouds had lifted and the rain had stopped so it ended up being an absolutely beautiful lunchtime up in the mountains. As we made our way to the teahouse to have our scones and jam we noticed that the mountain markets were all in a large field next to the teahouse. My wife loves a good market so she was over there like a shot looking for bargains and trying to spend my money. Her sister isn’t much better so she went over with her as well saying she would keep my wife under control. I didn’t really have any expectation of that, because she is just as bad as my wife when it comes to spending money. When they hadn’t come back after about an hour or so I decided to go over as well and see what they were up to. I found them in a junk and treasure tent where my wife had found some antique rosary beads which had a stirling silver crucifix and some beautiful wooden beads. They were only $70 and I could tell that they were true antiques so I encouraged my wife to buy them and told her they would be a very good investment for the future. She had no problem with that and quickly snapped them up from the dealer. After her purchase we went back to the teahouse and had a wonderful lunch before getting ready to go onto a small country town on the other side of the hills.