A Murder, a Funeral, Parenting and Not Enough Coffee.

This is a cautionary tale for those thinking about having pets or children, or, like me; crazy enough to have both. It is a tale of murder, heart break, a funeral, demon summoning and a missing cat with a Trump inspired comb-over. 

It all started yesterday morning whilst getting the kids ready for school…

As I was making their lunches I asked Tilly to feed the dog. A few seconds pass when I hear her shrieking. I run outside and Ripley (the dog) is in the far corner of the garden, shrouded by shrubs and Tilly is at the other end, hands over her face and crying. I immediately think she has been scratched by the dog and as I grab Tilly by her shoulders and turn her to face me, she points to the ground and wails “Ripley killed a possum!” She pushes her face into my chest, crying hard. I look down and there is the possum. Dead.

Tilly then turns on the dog, seething and rousing on her “Ripley how dare you! Why? WHY?” I had to calm her down and explain that Rip didn’t know any better, this is the nature of a dog and yes, it is awful. Ripley stayed put in the garden bed. I instruct Tilly to grab me a set of disposable gloves, paper towel and plastic bag.

Serious part over.

Gloved up, I set out the paper towel (Viva Paper Towel – super soft and super absorbent) and I gently picked up the body and placed it on the towel and drew the sheet up over it. I then proceeded to wrap it in more towelling and then I placed it in the plastic bag. Tilly hovered over me and when I folded the bag over she asked what I intended to do with it. “Eat it for lunch” is the wrong answer by the way.

Calming her down by telling her I was on a diet anyway (wrong thing to say, again); I said I would bury it after I took her and Mish to school. She looked horrified and begged to wait until after school so we could have a funeral. I agreed. I placed the possum on Mike’s workbench and once again promised I was only joking about eating it. 🙄 Meanwhile Mish was patiently waiting for his now extra toasted crumpets for breakfast. Tilly, understandably, had lost her appetite.

After school I set to organising the funeral. I began to dig into the garden bed, pulling out building material that had been thrown in there when the place was being built. I managed to dig a hole but not as deep as I would have liked. Whilst undertaking grave digging duties, the peanut gallery watched on, offering their own advice. As I stood up Mish says “I am surprised you chose to dig the grave directly under that big Saint Andrews Cross spider. Tilly and I have been watching to see if your head comes into contact with the web. Yep. You touched it just then mum.”

Cue my seizure, kids laughing, and the poor dead possum on the bench getting tired of this shit.

I put on a pair of disposable gloves and gently take the wrapped up possum from the plastic bag. Mish asked to see the body, Tilly punched him in the arm. I placed it in the grave and at the kids insistence, I spoke a few words before burying it:

“We are gathered here today to morn the passing of this sweet little possum; taken too soon from this world. I am sorry our dog got you. May you rest now in eternity.”

Mish piped up with “we are sorry our dog is a see you in the NT!” (paraphrased for censorship)😳 Given the gravity of the situation I let that go to the keeper, but will have stern words with Dad when he gets home because he is the swearer in this house. 😡

I covered the grave up, patted down the soil and hoped the neighbours were amused. As I put the shovel back in the shed I heard Tilly say “and now we make the sign of the cross.” To which Mish says out loud “that is not right! You go spectacles, testicles, wallet and watch. Jesus Tilly you have just summoned the devil.”

I thought about digging my own hole next to the possum…

Anyway, dog was shunned the rest of the night. She was pretty mopey. I felt anxious about putting her in the yard this morning; fearing she would find and dig up the possum. Tilly would implode if that happened. I called my mum and she advised me to sprinkle pepper on the grave and it will deter the dog. Fine, but what about the neighbours? They have witnessed the homicide, homicide investigation, the funeral, subsequent devil summoning and now out I come with the pepper grinder to season it! This poor possum!

Dog has not dug it up. Mish’s hope for a zombie possum is not going to happen. Tilly will calm down. All good, right? No.

So I get home today and as I pull into the garage I see the internal door is wide open. I freak out because that means the cat is in snooping and could now have very well bolted outside. I close the garage door, run around my car and look under the wheels. I poke about boxes and tools – no cat. I run inside and start calling out for Dwight. No response. Shit! He must be out! I grab a packet of food to take outside when Dwight comes flying down the stairs and head first into my shins. On his head is a tangle of whispy white spider webs, looking like a Trump comb over. He had been in the garage but must have bolted back inside when the roller door started to go up. I feed him, check to see possum is still buried and make myself a strong coffee. Serenity now. ☕️

Never work with kids or animals.

You’re welcome.

**I did have a cry for the possum when I got home after taking the kids to school. 😦

Escape from Pompeii – The Untold Roman Rescue

Last Friday we decided to take the river ferry in from Parramatta into Darling Harbour and spend the day strolling around the harbour with grandma. As we made our way round to the Harbourside Shopping Centre for a pancake brunch, we passed the Australian National Maritime Museum where out the front was a big sign promoting their latest exhibition: Escape from Pompeii – The Untold Roman Rescue. We quickly decided that after we had eaten, we would go and check it out.

With tummies full of crepes, pancakes, ice cream and maple syrup, we waddled over to the museum and purchased our tickets (FYI they offer a discount to ADF personnel). We were told that at 2pm they would be screening a short film about Pompeii. With time to spare we went out to the dock and let grandma explore the Australian naval vessels; the Destroyer HMAS Vampire and the submarine HMAS Onslow. Due to my dislike of confined spaces I opted to sit out the tour of the submarine and instead checked out the exhibits in the building that is situated between the two vessels. I was intrigued by the map locating where the remains of Australian navy ships lie. The images of the wreckages underwater were sad, eerie and intriguing. Some were sunk following being decommissioned, others were lost during war, taking their crews with them to the bottom of the ocean.

Soon enough hubby, Grandma and the kids emerged. My kids bolted across and onto the HMAS Vampire. My mother-in-law informed me that she had suffered a “ding to the shin” whilst trying to step through a doorway, and that Mike had successfully bashed his head on everything inside the submarine. I noticed his bald head was looking a bit worse for wear with a few newly acquired dents. We all wandered around the deck of the Vampire; Sydney had put on a glorious day for my mother-in-law (who had come all the way over from Canada to see us). The sun was out, the sky was blue and the breeze was divine. Ship tour done, we still had a bit of time to kill so we wandered over to the replica of the HMS Endeavour. The kids climbed all over the ropes, watched the school of fish swimming around the bow, and soon enough it was time for us to go in and watch the short film on Pompeii.

I forgot to mention that the film is in 3D, so we got to wear these groovy 3D glasses.

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Running for approximately 8 minutes, the film details the progression and result of the eruption of Vesuvius. There are no people, you are watching from above the rooftops. The first tremor hits – roof tiles tremble, dogs bark, birds frantically fly away and you can hear a baby cry out. Eventually the tremors get stronger, the city starts to crumble, ash falls down to earth. With each passing hour, you begin to feel the dread. The fear. These people never stood a chance. You watch as Pompeii is wiped out and eventually everything is still and silent. I have never been to Pompeii, it is a place I would so love to see. In the meantime, I have read books, watched documentaries about it (even the Doctor Who episode – The Fires of Pompeii, which featured the now 12th Doctor as Caecilius); but this little film made it real for me. I thought about all the victims, lost for 2000 years. Even now, five days on I am still thinking about it. I can still hear the rumbling, the dogs, the crying baby.

It was very well done.

After we watched the short film on Pompeii and the following 3D film on Great White Sharks (brilliant by the way – highly recommend watching it) we went on to see the exhibit. In this exhibit, I learnt that the Roman navy had attempted to evacuate people from the area. This evacuation was led by Pliny the Elder, who died during the evacuation.

At the time of the eruption of Vesuvius in 79, which destroyed Pompeii, Herculaneum, Stabiae and Oplontis, while going to the aid of survivors and spurred on, no doubt, by his scientific curiosity, Pliny lingered to observe the volcano at close quarters. Landing at Stabiae from a small boat he was overcome by the sulphurous fumes and died on 24th August 79. Pliny the Elder – Natural History: A Selection, Introduction, p xi.

He was 55 years old.

Pliny the Elder - Natural History: A Selection

The exhibit contains rare artefacts from the areas affected by Vesuvius eruption in 79AD. It details Roman naval history, and how this terrible event highlighted the importance of its navy to the Roman Empire. You gain an insight into the lives of the sailors, the culture in the Bay of Naples and how beautiful and resplendent it had been in that day and age. You see how Pompeii served as a successful maritime port, boosting the trade business which flourished owing to the navy, and how quickly and horrifically it was erased.

The exhibition runs daily (0930am – 5pm) from the 31st March through to 03rd September 2017.

If you are in Sydney during this time, I highly recommend you check out this exhibit. You can find further information on the Australian National Maritime Museum website: www.anmm.gov.au

Note: all photos were taken by myself, using my trusty iPhone 6S Plus.

Wollongong, NSW

With my mother-in-law here visiting us all the way over from Canada, and the spectacular mild winter weather we have had of late, we decided to head on down to Wollongong to visit a dear family friend.

The drive was smooth and we arrived in time for lunch. My kids were in awe of the large yard and spent the whole time outside exploring the bush that surrounded the property, playing by the pond (my son “accidentally” stepped in the pond, his shoes and socks soaked right through and covered in mud). They ran around with the two dogs, spent time talking to the chickens and picking lemons off the lemon tree. They loved it so much, to have all that space compared to our home which is a tiny shoebox with a tuft of grass for a back yard, that they were devastated to be heading back home. Our friend mentioned a driving tour or Wollongong, including a stop at the beach and this was all they needed to hear to get them in the car quick smart!

Oh, my goodness, how beautiful is this place!!! We made our way to the beach and Wollongong had turned on the charm big time. The winter weather was a mild 14 degrees Celsius, sky was azure blue and the waves were bashing and crashing onto the sand. Surfers were in their element, riding the waves in, and my children were down the stairs and on the sand before we could stop them. They ran straight into the water – shoes on and they were loving every minute of it. We managed to get them to take off their now soggy shoes and told them they could go no more than ankle deep in the water as we did not have towels or change of clothes for them.
This is their understanding of ankle-deep… soaked right up to the waist…

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After they had worn themselves out at the beach, we had to strip them off to their t-shirts and undies and they huddled under my big knitted coat as we proceeded with our driving tour of ‘The Gong’. Dusk was coming in and as we wound our way around the Grand Pacific Drive, with the ocean to our right; the light created a magnificent hue over the coastline.

Wollongong Coastline at Dusk

We stopped at Bald Hill lookout where we said our goodbyes to our dear friend and we made our way back home to Sydney, but not before I managed to take this final photo…

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We love you Wollongong! We will be back soon (with towels and bathing suits) I promise!!!