Monday, February 17, 2014

Of Pictures and Princesses

One of my ambitions is to be able to draw beautiful pictures on the computer. I love drawing with a pencil and ink but there are times when you want to be able to do something a little bit different. I'm not really good at digital art yet but this is my best picture so far. 

Princess Rosalia

This is a portrait of a character from a novel Imogen and I are writing together. We each have a special character and this is Imogen's. I like my character but he isn't quite so fun to draw. Rosalia though is wonderful to draw because of her floaty skirts and cool hair. I believe that this is the best out of the three pictures I have drawn of Rosalia. She's a happy bubbly sort of person who is always twirling and laughing.

My next ambition is to draw my character on the computer as well. Rudy's a different sort of person to Rosalia, more of the strong silent type but he's quite funny on the inside. He'll be challenging but I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Science of the Winter Olympics

In the evenings we have been watching the Winter Olympics and really enjoying them, though I don't really like the Ski-athlon very much or Curling. I prefer the Snowboarding and the Figure Skating. Mum found a site with videos on the Science of the Winter Olympics. I was interested to see how figure skating works. It's beautiful to watch and I think that the physics behind it are also interesting.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

The Drovers Road Collection

Yesterday evening I finished reading The Drover’s Road Collection by Joyce West. It is a collection of three books in one, telling the adventures of Gay Allan and her cousins who live at Drover’s Road, a sheep station in New Zealand.

I really enjoyed The Drover’s Road Collection. The characters were hilarious, animals and humans alike. Amazingly all of the stories were equally good. Normally the first book is the best one in the series. But all three of the books were so good that I read them in two days. Even the proposal scenes were funny and readable, which is saying something as I usually hate proposals. I’ll definitely be reading these stories again. 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

A New Use For My Blog

For this new term, I’m going to be using my blog as a record of what I’m learning instead of writing it down in a boring list. No matter how many pretty colours you use, a list is just a list. So I’m going to put pictures of what I’m learning about up and write a bit about them so that I’ve got a record of what I’ve done this term.

And I’m going to start this record with the book “Jamberoo Road” by Eleanor Spence. It is set in the days of convicts when people were just settling Australia. “Jamberoo Road” is the actually the sequel to “The Switherby Pilgrims” and continues the story of a group of orphans who travelled from Switherby in England to Australia with their teacher and guardian, Missabella, to start a new life in a new country.

I liked the story, though I didn’t think it was as good as “The Switherby Pilgrims”. It was not a very long book and seemed to end rather abruptly without much happening. I expected there to be far more conflict and more about each character. On the whole the problems were solved without there being much trouble. But it was still a very enjoyable book.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Attack of the Bath Monster

Usually Imogen wrestles the cats through the bath. They are caught, bundled off to the laundry and all we hear are wails and meowing until a sorry soggy cat scoots out and takes refuge under the nearest table. But this week Imogen wasn't there. She is away at a mission school. So that left me as Bath-Master-In-Chief.

I eyed my first victim, a pitifully meowing fuzzy lump. I began to wonder if this might be easier than I had imagined. I plopped the cat in the bath, ran some nice warm water and bath day began. Soon Jenny began wailing, insisting that I'm a mean horrible monster who tortures poor little cats for fun. Bathing moaning cats is not my idea of fun.

One soggy cat scurried away, sliding on the tiles and hid under the table. I grinned. Only two more to go. The next cat was a breeze. Sammy hates the bathtub but he's so silly he won't try get out. Either that or he knew I'm the master of the bath. When I say "you will sit there" I mean it. He just sat there, meowing pitifully like a little kitten. But I was still cautious. There was still one cat left to go.

Poppy is known as a horror in the bath. The first time we bathed her, she jumped out of the bath onto Imogen's head. So I eyed her cautiously. We both put our best stubborn faces on and the battle began. At first things seemed to go well. Poppy stayed mostly in the bath, along with the water. Sophie help me pour cupfuls of warm water over her back. I relaxed slightly. Then the whirlwind began.

For some reason, Poppy decided she hated the bath more than usual. Or maybe she thought I was weaker and more likely to let her out of the bath than Imogen. She started clawing her away out of the tub. I yanked her back in. Sophie helped me pin her down. We settled back down to wetting her. Then Poppy climbed the air in front of her. I've never actually seen a cat climb thin air before but this one certainly did. She leaped into the air and wriggled like an eel.

"Turn off the water," I yelled at Sophie.

She wrestled with the taps and a little of the airborne water disappeared. I put my best stubborn face on and tried to wrestle Poppy back into the bath. The horrible animal decided at the moment that she wanted to be gone and scratched me, jumped out of the bath and ran away, dribbling water all over the floor. I clutched my arm and stalked after my foe.

"Fetch Dad," I told Sophie.

It was war.

Dad appeared a couple of seconds later and grabbed Poppy by the scruff of her neck. He dunked her back into the tub and the battle began again. This time it went our way. Dad held her down gently but firmly. There wasn't any climbing walls with him there. In record time we had a third soggy animal hiding.

I've decided that Imogen may keep her delightful job. This Bath-Master-In-Chief wants to retire. I've got several huge scratches on my arm and a horror of bathing animals. But we won.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Almost Evacuating

Someone was knocking at my bedroom door. I flipped the lid of my laptop down and went to open it. A very excited Sophie stood outside my door.

"The fire danger is catastrophic," she said. "We saw it on the way home from the shops."

That was the first time I've ever heard of the fire danger being that high. But I didn't worry. It wouldn't really matter. I settled back down to enjoy the rest of my evening in peace.

At bedtime I headed off to say goodnight. I'd just go kiss Mum and Dad goodnight, tuck myself up in bed and snooze. That was the plan. Instead I went out to say goodnight to Dad and was greeted with an unlikely message.

"Turn off your laptop and unplug it. Get your USB sticks and Imogen's laptop ready to evacuate."

That was rather random. I hadn't quite expected that.

I promised I would do it and went to say goodnight to Mum. She kissed me and said,

"Get yourself a pair of trousers and a long sleeved shirt ready. Also pack some other clothes."

This was getting rather serious.

"Are we in danger then? Sophie said the fire danger is catastrophic."

"There are any fires near us but fires move really quickly. We have to be ready in case we have to evacuate. We would feel pretty stupid if a fire came and we hadn't bothered to get ready. Also pack up any electronics," Mum said.

"What about the cats?" I asked. "Shall I get out the carriers in case?"

"That's a good idea. Put them by the front door where we can get to them easily."

"And what about the guinea pig?"

"We'd better move her up to the house so we can get her quickly."

I headed off and found cat carriers, hunted and failed to find a box for our ancient guinea pig and helped carry her cage up to the house. Then I was sent to find Sophie and Gemma-Rose's computers and cameras. They were awake and wanted to know what was going on. Before I knew it, we were preparing the whole house to evacuate. Bags of emergency clothing, laptops and cat carriers appeared by the door.

Finally, after everything we could possibly need to evacuate was packed, I headed for bed, much later then I had expected. But there was still clothing and laptops in my bedroom to pack. I slipped everything of importance that I could find into a bag and flopped into bed.

The next day dawned cloudy and rather cool. That didn't last. By lunchtime the air was scorching and any anxious thoughts about evacuating were banished from my mind by the heat. We spent the day hiding from the heat in the coolest places we could find. Mum checked where the bush fires were every few minutes. But the hottest day this summer ended without us evacuating.

It really was rather odd. Preparing for an evacuation felt rather scary. We rushed around, half expecting to hear the hooter go and to have to run. Then we got up in the morning and nothing happened. The day ended without any problems. The worst problem we faced was staying cool. So we almost evacuated. But I'm glad that we didn't have to.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Shiny New Computer

One day I got up to find that my computer refused to turn on. It wouldn't charge. It adamantly insisted that I was being mean and it couldn't possibly be expected to work. At first I thought, "It's just the charger cord or something. I'll show it Dad and he'll fix it in five minutes."

So I picked up my little laptop and toddled off to find Dad. He took it and plugged the charger in. As I expected, nothing at all happened. He unplugged it and tried again. We tried another charger and got the same result. 

"I'll take it to be repaired," Dad said. "You can use my laptop while it's being fixed."

Dad took charge of my laptop, I started borrowing whatever computer was on offer and things went on as normal. A few days ago when Dad had some spare time he start ringing up about getting my computer fixed. He rang everywhere, even India, to work out what had happened to it. Then he came to my bedroom.

"I've rung them about the computer and they think the motherboard has crashed."

"That's like a computer heart attack isn't it?"

So that was final. My computer wasn't coming would I continue to beg and borrow computers? Nope.

"We'll get you a new computer soon," Dad promised. 

I thought that it might be a few weeks before we'd do anything. But just a couple days ago things happened. 

The doorbell rang. I dropped the cheese slicer on the board, abandoned the sandwiches and ran to let Mum and Dad in. For a few minutes everything was forgotten as we unpacked the shopping. But once things had calmed down and I was eating my lunch, Mum called. I hurried to her bedroom. 

"Would you like this laptop?"

A large shiny brand-new laptop sat on her bed. It was black and silver and very shiny. My eyes widened.

"Yes please!"

I couldn't believe it. A new laptop! One that went at the speed of light, didn't die in the heat and wouldn't toast my feet as I wrote. 

In the afternoon Dad began setting it up. I stood behind him, eyes glued to the screen as he installed basic programs and got rid of random things it had come with. I couldn't believe the speed. It didn't go in fits and starts and moan the whole time. No, my new laptop took everything in its stride. Then came the most important part, the background. We hunted through the stock backgrounds it came with.

"There's these tulips or these other flowers," Dad said as we scrolled through.

"Can we try the koala?"

Dad clicked on the image and my screen filled with a massive fuzzy koala. 

"I love it."

"Are you sure that's what you want? We could look for something else."

But I was sure. 

By evening I had a brilliant laptop, ready to do anything. I could write novels and blog posts and play computer games, even on hot days. And it was mine. Thanks to my wonderful parents I now have one of the best computers in the whole house.