Monday, 15 October 2012

Chess antiques

Yesterday we spent a day at home. Just relaxing, pottering, chilling...that sort of a day. I moved a few bits of furniture you do. (Actually, I find that quite satisfying, so it was my way of switching off.) As I was in the middle of heaving beds around the place Sibs and Neil decided to dust off an old chess set and sit outside in the afternoon sunshine.

Sunday afternoon chess lesson

Years ago Neil loved to play chess. Apparently when he was at school he played against some chess master or other...
Anyhow, for his 30th birthday he said that he would like "a really nice chess set". For a man when usually asked what he would like for his birthday would  mutter "I don't need anything" this was a revelation!

We searched  and searched for a table and a chess set. In fact I think it took almost a year until we eventually found just the right thing in a small antique shop in Edinburgh.

The top of the table can be removed and turned to play chess or left as a plain top and inside there is also a backgammon board.
When we got the table home the modern chess pieces just didn't look right. Not that they were too different  like "The Simpsons" chess pieces or anything like that - they were just too shiny and plastic looking.

 A little while later Neil's mum found him the perfect present. By this time I think that he had possibly celebrated his 31st...but that's the way it goes with us.

Look how proud the horse looks?

It's funny how you can sometimes forget the lovely things that are hidden away in a box.

As with any antique, I wonder who used these pieces before. Were they on display or were they also hidden away in the box? Did they belong to a 10 year old child learning how to play or a gentleman that would sit with his brandy and cigar....?

 I've left the pieces out on the table today. They are enjoying their new home on the other side of the world.

I wonder if the original owner would ever have imagined...

Happy Monday,

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Another escape to the country

We are into the final term of the year here and the countdown to Christmas. 

I'm still getting mixed up with confusion of the warmer weather approaching and the Christmas bits and bobs appearing in the shops. I guess I'll always have those split seconds of confusion this time of year. Brain thinks that Autumn is approaching as it's October yet body and surroundings tell me a different story! Then to add to the confusion this year I am starting to plan our Summer holiday which will be spent in the middle of Winter in the UK!

Anyhow, that's enough of my fuzzled state of mind....

We had a lovely couple of weeks of school holidays and managed to work through quite a few wish list items. During the second week we spent a few days in the beautiful countryside in Northern New South Wales.

trying to find the border between Queensland and NSW
It was absolutely stunning. 
I was driving at a snail's pace just drinking in the rolling reminded me of home...

See that first cabin in the row of three? That was our home for a few days.

This was the view that we woke up to in the mornings...

Not a bad place to relax and switch off is it? 

There were plenty of activities to keep the little people happy and Sibs had a fabulous time in the water from morning to nightfall. She was on the go all day and would be asleep within a second of her head hitting the pillow.

Whilst we were there some lovely friends made the journey down to spend the day with us. All in all there were nine children and four mothers. The kids canoed  splashed, swam and generally just had fun all day, and the mother's just enjoyed the freedom to catch up. 

Sibs was first in the queue for the twice daily animal feeding and tried to persuade me that we really needed to give one of the guinea pigs a new home...

Lots of fresh country air did us all the world of good.

For those that followed a few photos of our break through instagram - Sibs overcame her fears and eventually managed to jump from the board!

go girl!
Another spot to put on the list of places to stay.

We stayed at Hosanna Farmstay, Stockers Siding.
Website - HERE

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Newstead House visit

We are in the second week of school holidays here.
I'm grateful for school holidays. 

I love the change of pace that happens.

We are a small family, yet life seems to roller coaster along and it feels like Mondays become Fridays become Sundays. Anyone else relate?

So school holidays is a chance to apply the brakes and live life a little slower. I'm very fortunate in the fact that I can work around the school holidays. My employer offers a reduced working year scheme where I am able to buy additional days of leave and it means that I then get to spend the precious school holidays with my girl. I am so appreciative of this opportunity as it takes away a lot of the working mother stress and guilt. It also means that I get a break every few months - which is obviously rather nice!

I have mentioned before that we have a 'We should..' box. (blog post HERE). In this box we write down ideas for days out or activities that we want to do. One of the ideas that's been in there for a little while was 'take a trip to Newstead House. So these school holidays we earmarked a day and set off.

Newstead House back veranda and a picnic lunch in the gardens

Newstead House  (website - HERE) is located on the Brisbane river and dates back to 1846. It is  the oldest residential property in the area, which makes me realise how new Brisbane is.

It is filled with furniture and memorabilia from a by gone age and is a truly fascinating and beautiful house.

Newstead House - Morning Room, Dining Room and Drawing Room

As we wandered through the place the lovely gentleman that greeted us at the door came for a bit of a chat. At that point Sibs and I were admiring the drawing room with the gorgeous china tea set and demi grand. The conversation moved to the piano and he asked if either of us played....

Next thing he had lifted the rope that protected visitors from walking within the rooms and invited Sibs to have a play. She wasn't hesitant at all and made herself quite at home.

Newstead House - Sibs playing the Demi Grand Piano

Her repertoire was restricted to the current pieces that she is learning so in these majestic and formal surroundings she played.....'One Direction - You don't know you're beautiful' , followed by 'The Entertainer' and topped off with 'Coldplay - Clocks'!

By this time a few people had gathered and some tourists began to take photos! One man asked if she could play him some Beethoven. She had already exhausted her playing from memory and the only other music she could remember was chopsticks (!) so I got to take the seat and managed to play most of 'Moonlight Sonata'. I wasn't as comfortable as Sibs was with an audience....

It made a morning admiring a lovely house into a memorable occasion.

We always have to sign a visitors book

Newstead House, Brisbane

We've been ticking off quite a few things from our 'We should..' box this last week. I really should try and find the time to record our adventures. 

Just on another note, I seem to have been having a few issues with funny messages appearing on opening of my blog. I have removed the instagram button on the sidebar as this seemed to be the culprit and that should now be all good and safe - fingers crossed.