My whirlwind virtual trip around the world was interrupted by a birthday party for the littlest Flea who turned 5 on Sunday. The house was a great happy chaotic mess of the birthday girl, two little cousins and assorted Mama, Daddy, aunts, uncles and the FleaPas. We had pink balloons, pink icing, pink presents, and a swimming pool cake with blue and red water and the two little cousins and the littlest Flea swimming in it! Oh -do you know how many people it takes to light the candles on a birthday cake? – three – one Grandpa to hold the match and one Daddy and a birthday girl to supervise! Look at the concentration on those faces.
My apologies to Roxie – I forgot to take a photo of the cupcakes with pink icing and smarties (M & Ms) decoration.
Dianne admits to two knitting homes – California, USA and Exeter, Australia. I’ve been to California but without knowing the general location, can’t say if I’ve been near Dianne’s knitting lair, there. Exeter is in the Southern Highlands of NSW, about an hour and a half to two hours drive from my home. I have been to Robertson and Bundanoon in the same area, but can’t recall Exeter, although I must have passed through there. It is a beautiful part of NSW with proper winters, unlike my part of Sydney. Robertson is the home of the “Big Potato” – Australians have a fascination for “big things” – we have “big things” all around the country – the big merino, the big banana (the first big thing in Australia, I think), the big oyster, the big prawn, the big bottle! and so on. Robertson is a potato growing area and so I guess someone had the bright idea of having a “big Thing” to attract the tourists – unfortunately, the big potato looks like a giant dog dropping (my apologies to the good people of Robertson if I’ve offended you – but someone had to tell you …)
Next, Kathy of Indianapolis – I have never been to Indianapolis – the closest I’ve gone is Chicago about 15 years ago. I fell in love with The Field Museum – Grandpa Flea and I spent hours there and still didn’t get off the ground floor! It’s a bit like Questacon in Canberra, but a thousand times better. My favourite exhibit was the very large clear perspex incubator containing hundreds of hen eggs. As you watched, an egg would start to hatch and it was absolutely mesmerising to watch the little chick struggle to break out of the shell. Nothing like the sped-up sequences you see on TV! I also loved the The Art Institute of Chicago although when I just did a search of its website, I couldn’t find the paintings that I remembered. Perhaps they are on loan or maybe even sold.
Willow hails from Los Angeles but is about to move north west to Camarillo. I have changed planes in Los Angeles – I even had a shower at the airport – but have never actually looked around there. The closest I have been is Las Vegas, which is not close at all. I found Camarillo on the map, but again Las Vegas would be the closest I have been. When we went to Las Vegas, it was the first time we had been overseas and we had three weeks travelling around – everywhere. We saw a lot of airports! and learnt from that experience.
Gemma lives in Bankstown, a south western suburb of Sydney. It’s an area that I used to know quite well, as Grandpa Flea was living in a boarding house in the nearby suburb of Punchbowl when I met him. But that was many, many years ago and I probably wouldn’t recognise it now. My eldest daughter was working there some years ago in the Environmental Protection Agency, but her department then moved into the Sydney CBD. Grandpa Flea’s sister used to live at Padstow which is also in the same general area so over the years I’ve circled around Bankstown.
We now have to do a lightning speed hop over to Finland, where Maud lives in a place called Espoo. Check out Maud’s posts on her Venezia sweater – it is a work of art. I can see on Google Earth that Espoo is inland and west of Helsinki but still on the south coast. I now know that it is the second largest city in Finland with about 250,000 people, and is part of the Greater Helsinki City area. And it has a Marimekko shop! I have been to Finland – to Helsinki airport! where I changed planes on my way from somewhere to somewhere – I can’t recall now. The airport has some lovely examples of Finnish design in the shops but sadly that is the only part of Finland that I have seen to date. However, for many years – thirty or more, I have worn a Finnish designed silver heart around my neck. We used to have a shop at Eastwood a couple of suburbs away that only sold items from Finland. I fell in love with this particular heart and had to have it. It is looking a bit battered now from years of wearing – I’ve dropped it a few times on a concrete surface which has left a few marks and when my grandchildren were teething, they used to “gum” it when I was holding them. When we visited Stockholm we stayed in a funny little hotel/bed and breakfast place which was owned by a Finnish family. The owner’s brother greeted us like long lost friends and gave us a discount as he had emigrated to Australia and was visiting his brother on holidays! He lives in Granville, the suburb that Lara is moving to. So I do have Finnish connections!!