Two whole weeks and nobody could identify this quote: Feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the questing vole
It's from Evelyn Waugh's Scoop, an example of the hopelessly over-written nature articles written by our intrepid hero. I recommend the novel unreservedly, it's bloody hilarious.
Anyway, looks like I need to lower the cultural brow, so here's the first line from a song that everybody knows. Bonus point for the TV show that specifically mentions this line in the dialogue. Remember, no Googling, answers in the Comments.
Wednesday was a boy's night out to see a band with Nick, Legge, Richard and others. Music was good and we were then kicked upstairs into a different club if we wanted to keep drinking, a place that turned out to be having a heavy metal night. I can confirm that drunken discussions of Patrick White to a soundtrack of Guns'n'Roses can be most entertaining.
The quid pro quo for my evening off was M heading up to Avoca for a girlie weekend, leaving me to look after the Bs for two whole days. Eek!
Obviously the first priority on Saturday morning was a book fair, where I got a bagful of stuff for $22, including a token children's book. The kids were fine with it actually, we went to a playground beforehand and had a restful afternoon, so they were happy enough.
Here's a video of the kids on a slide:
I managed to feed, bathe and put them to bed without drama which was a relief, and spent the evening watching the OK Wanda and the compassionate Yi Yi.
Sunday morning we headed to Ryde Children's Festival that involved face painting, craft, big slides, whirly swings and bouncy castles. B1 had a blast:
Unfortunately, B2 was stuck in his chair for much of the (extremely hot) morning, so it wasn't ideal for him. Maybe he will enjoy it more next year:
The last thing we did was queue for 10 minutes so that B1 could get her coveted pink ballon. She refused to let me tie the string around her wrist. I took this photo about 30 seconds later:
So the kids survived, I survived and M returned on Sunday evening to return balance to the cosmos.
LATE BREAKING NEWS: My sister had a baby girl, Isabella Catherine Cross, this morning. It's all good. I like uncling.
I have been feeling not-so-good the last few days, but I still enjoyed a weekend in Nelson Bay with Dani, Todd and Pecky. I passed the time by grumbling about the beach by day and failing to understand poker in the evenings. I slept a lot, but not enough somehow.
A pleasant, fairly laidback weekend here incorporating playing both pool and mini golf, which has to be a good thing. It was M's birthday on Sunday, so on Saturday we enjoyed an early evening barbecue with M's folks, B2 enjoying the wide open spaces of the pristine garden, as you can see.
On Sunday M finally got to scuba dive again after a 4-year hiaitus. She headed down to La Perouse on Botany Bay with Karen and Steve, where they had a nice little dive and saw some cool marine life. Impressively, M still fits into her pre-motherhood wetsuit. I need to try mine on next, optimism does not abound.
(Cross-posted from the book blog, but significant to me so I've duplicated it here.)
So the Dance to the Music of Time comes to an end and I would say that, cumulatively, the twelve novels make up one of the greatest reading experiences of my life. Impossibly elegant and stylish, with a panoramic view of aristocratic and artistic life through the twentieth century and a glorious representation of the way that life is subjectively lived.
Our narrator, Nick Jenkins, is both passive, stoic and so self-effacing as to be almost absent from his own narrative, to the extent that I'm not even sure we ever learn the name of his children. Instead we are left with a series of indelible images; Widmerpool having a cup of sugar poured over him, a servant walking into a dining room bereft of clothes, a tableau of photographs representing the Seven Deadly Sins.
There are classical references throughout (the picture above by Poussin provided the title), most of which passed me by. What I took away instead was an array of unforgettable characters, some magnificent serio-comic prose and a shamefaced sense of nostalgia for a world I never knew.
It was a long weekend here, and I got to spend plenty of time with M and the Bs, which was of course a delight. M&I were out on Friday night enjoying a wonderful Nepalese meal and seeing The Futureheads at the Gaelic Club. We saw them third on the bill in a Camden pub many years ago, so it was good to catch up with them again.
On Sunday morning we saw Mark, Tanya and offspring at the Sydney Olympic Pool. B1 loved the excellent kids' pool, full of noise and spray and excitement. B2 wasn't too keen at all, though. We later spotted a quieter baby pool that we'll try next time.
Sunday was Rugby League Grand Final day, so we joined Dani and Corinne and the RSL for the match and a raffle. The latter was hilarious - between us we invested $60 for a return of $100 in vouchers, 6 meat trays and a fruit and veg tray. Here is M&I's take:
As you know I love a good quote, and I want to encourage more comments here, so it's about time I instituted a "name that quote" competition, starting now. Answers in the comments please, just the name of the song/movie/TV show/book plus any amusing extraneous material. No Googling!
Here's number one:
The path of my life is strewn with cowpats from the devil's own satanic herd.