Well - the photos seem to have absconded from iphoto... Hannah had some weird files open earlier today... hmmm.
I went to Solar Springs in Bundanoon for a Mothers retreat with NSW DSA - it was fantastic!! to have all that head space just for me. Such a treat. On the Thursday before leaving I was walking by Gleebooks - so I wandered in hoping to get a copy of the novel Water Under Water by Peter Rix (it was being launched on the following Sunday) and I got lucky - it was there - so I promptly bought a copy and in snatched moments of my students graduation ceremony I began to read it. I finished it while I was away - and when one of my frineds asked me what I though of it - I had no words - I am still not sure - but i am mulling it over and will reflect upon it more a bit later. If you haven't heard about it - it is the story of a family, in particular a father and son - where the son has DS. It sort of reminded me of the Memory Keepers Daughter - only this time the father got to keep the child with DS. the writing style was a lot like Tim Winton (who is a GREAT Australian writer) although that was perhaps due to all the descriptions of water and the cover which was not unlike the cover to Winton's Breath. Being so close to the subject matter can make responding to the book as simply a novel very difficult - hence I am still thinking it over in the back of my mind.
One of the mums on Retreat has a 42 year old son - she has self published the comfortingly titled: Down Syndrome Where Do I Start? (Sigrid Kaly) - and I read it straight away too. I had been looking for stories about DS just before I left for the retreat - and had ordered a couple I found on the wonderful Book Depository UK site. Dear Dr Fields (Pat Daniels) arrived just before this weekend - so I am in the midst of reading it (well actually polished it off late last night while this post was in the to be continued folder). The young man in question is in his 30s now - and his mother retells their family story in the guise of letters to her obs who handled the delivery of a child with DS in Brisbane in the 70s very poorly. I was surprised to see that it was actually set in Australia as I hadn't heard anything about it here and had thought it was an english story.
While at Solar Springs I managed to get to a yoga class and go on an evening bushwalk to see the glow worms at GlowWorm Glen (is it only Aussies that have such imaginery names for places?). I pottered through the local village shops and foraged (successfully!) for some pine mushrooms along the roadside - also known as saffron milkcaps - they were delicious with pasta when I got home. Phil, my Dad and the kids had had a good time at home - we met them at the local park. Hannah was very excited to see me but Kit was much more laid back about the whole Mum going away thing, the big brat.
We have just had the long weekend and Dad and my AUnt from South Australia were in residence which was lovely. We all went out to the local Italian restaurant for dinner on Friday night. Yesterday some good friends came over - including the 'other' set of twins from Year 1 - so everyone had a blast playing together. We also finally made it to the travel agent to plan our European holiday - man holidays for 4 are expensive!! We are going to go to London, Oxford, Paris, somewhere near Paris for a quiet week - not sure where just yet!; Florence, Venice and Rome. Then home. Given the cost and limited time we have opted for direct flights there and back which are going to be hard on the twins - especially Hannah but I have asked for a little extra long service leave so will stay at home with her if need be to get her ready to return to school. I am very excited that I will be able to do some 'royal' things and Kit and I will be able to wander through Monet's garden - bliss.
Once I come out the other side of the marking abyss I will try and rectify the photo problem that prevents me showing you how lovely Solar Springs is and how much fun the kids had at the local park while I was away.