Friday, September 04, 2009

Drink, Drive: Die In A Ditch

The above is an actual public education billboard by a major road in Canberra, where we are now. We came by train from Taree via Sydney. Taree was all sunshine and palm trees and the promise of spring - when we arrived at 10.30 at night, Canberra was a cold, damp and grimly floodlit series of roundabouts.

We are staying with Elf's parents, Bill and Felicity, in suburban Weetangera. Marcus has had some kind of bug, actually threw up in the car between the 13th and 14th roundabouts on the way here from the train. He is much better now but for a couple of days we took it slow. The four of us plus Bill went to Questacon, the Science and Technology Activity Centre, yesterday. Poor Marcus dragged himself around but wasn't able to really enjoy it.

Late last night Elf's brother Fred arrived for a couple of days. He is a science and technology activity centre in himself. He delighted the boys and the rest of us too with some experiments this morning. He made a loudspeaker out of a short plastic tube and a bit of balloon; made a water jet out of a bit of glass tubing that he heated and stretched, with water forced into it by gravity feed from a bucket upstairs; focussed the water jet on the stretched rubber and the most amazing howl arose. He has a small lab in the garage dating back to his years growing up here. Among his bottles and jars is a large container of mercury, amazingly hefty. Given to him by Grandpa Ware, retired dentist. We'll be catching up with him in a few days.

Also last night Elf's sister Imp arrived for one night, in town on business. She reported from the soccer trophy day (that we missed) that Miah, on receipt of trophy, had a good look all over it and then exclaimed "the people in China know my name!!"

The tapwater here is quite chlorinated. Deep in my smell cortex this sets off memories of travelling to Peru - I don't think I have been anywhere else where the water fairly shouts "For your safety I have been disinfected by the government".

There's a poster of the principal Egyptian gods on the wall in the kitchen. Michael impressed all by pointing and saying "that's the crown of Upper Egypt and THAT's the crown of Lower Egypt". Marcus, remembering the same book from the library, went along saying blithely "he's God of the Sun, he's God of the Dead, she's God of the Sky, he's God of... er..." Michael: "Liberty?"

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