To Alex, our cricketer

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Dearest Alex

You wander back besides the pitch, and pass the stumps. I like that you’re relaxed, although now and then, you break into a little jog as if you’re keen to get on with it. You arrive at the top of your mark, and I bend forward as if being closer to you will help. It’s a symbolic hug, or a pat on your shoulder.

Your mum and I are on our chairs in the Sunday shade. There’s other parents and grandparents sprinkled about beside the school gym. Max is either hurling himself about at the playground, or having a snack. While he shows fleeting interest in the on-field action, we know he wants you to do well when he asks, “How many runs did you make?” or “Did you win, Alex?”

In our frantic and unavoidably scrappy lives, this time in our week is when Mum and I can sit under the immaculate pre-lunch sky, and chat about school and work, you two boys and our Christmas holidays. Without your knowing it you’ve yet again given us a gift, and this Sunday morning sacrament cloaks us in monastic calm.

In each game, you’ve bowled either twelve or eighteen deliveries with tremendous success. And having flipped the ball from one hand to the other with that instinctive confidence, that emerging ease with the red leather, you now clasp it in your fingers and palm, and pick out a point on the pitch.

Here we go.

Turning towards the batsman, your run-up begins, and Mum and I concentrate all our love onto you. Our hope and our pride are funnelled to the demanding biomechanics of what you’ll do in the next seconds. The expectation makes me squirm and spasm. It’s anguish and delight. What will happen? C’mon, Alex!

From beyond the boundary we gaze at you, leaning forward as you accelerate, and your long frame foreshadows the fast bowler’s menace. I remember someone saying, “Until they hit their delivery stride all fast bowlers are athletes.” How true this is! All at once I can see you in this moment, but also the wide-eyed boy you were and the remarkable man who’s coming too quickly.

Other boys display the poise of a collapsing water-buffalo, but there’s a singularity in your action, especially for a nine-year old. In cricket, as in so much of life, the best techniques are often those with an elegant simplicity; a marriage of aesthetics to mechanical minimalism. The ultimate example of this is Glen McGrath although your blonde hair is more Nick Riewoldt than Brett Lee!

Your Mum and I have long invested in cricket, and subscribed to its broad community, its teachings and its charismatic company. It speaks to us as it preaches to your grandparents, and we love how you also hear its sweet call.

Now coiled in your delivery stride, you release the Kookaburra at impressive pace and it travels the twenty-two yards to its fate. This crimson orb carries our aspirations. You’re making your way in the world, by cultivating your skills, making connections and embracing the offers and the challenges that fly in your direction.

Congratulations, for you’re a cricketer, as well as a loyal friend, a protective brother and a gorgeous son. It’s early in the innings, but it’s begun brightly.


Mum and Dad

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Galloping about Greenwich and Abba Adventures


June 7- Kerry

Up and at ‘em early today. Down the road to Piccadilly Circus where we had the place to ourselves and it was so quiet.

We walked along Regent Street to Waterloo Place and down onto The Mall. Followed this along to Buckingham Palace and was impressed by the Victoria Monument but less by the palace. What you can see is big and grey with big black and gold gates. Mmm…

The best bit was it was so quiet- there was hardly anyone else around- a dozen at the most. We did a lap around the palace- ‘tis big- and saw Wellington’s monument and gate at Hyde Park Corner. Once around we went through St James’ Park to the Horse Guards’ ground. The park is lovely and we had a bit of a chat with a nice, chummy guy about the birds.

Went to have a look through Westminster Abbey but it was shut (hope to go back) so went up the road to the Portrait Gallery instead. After this we went to the tourist info and had a huge Pizza Pig-out before sprinting back to the hostel for a cat nap (all hail the restorative powers of pizza- editor).

A couple of hours later we were up and at ‘em again although our body clocks still not caught up and we headed off to the British Museum. Lots of Greek and Roman- too many and we had overload. A few highlights include the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian mummies and the Sutton Hoo, an ancient burial ship from East Anglia, which was very cool. Next stop was the Easy Everything internet shop to catch up with everyone at home.

June 8 (a Friday)- Kerry

A few domestic chores in the morning (No, I didn’t paint the roof of our hostel- Editor) and we set off about ten. Interestingly, the fire alarm went off in the hostel earlier so we grabbed our valuable and went down stairs only to find it was a false alarm. Thank God- I was still in my PJ’s with no undies as they were all in the wash- not a good look in the middle of London (less so in Dubai-Editor).

Hoped on a ferry at Westminster Pier for a trip to Greenwich and the flood barriers. The bar maid was late (Tardy, not deceased- Editor), the driver come guide was informative and funny, the sights were interesting. The bridges good, the Millennium Dome ugly, the flood barriers strange.

Stopped off at Greenwich and hopped straight about the Cutty Sark for a look- interesting. Up the street to a pub for lunch and a beer/shandy and a rest. Then up the hill to Greenwich Park. Didn’t go to the observatory- too expensive and queue too long so we missed out standing astride the Meridian Line.

Up the hill found the 2,500-year-old Roman remains- disappointing to say the least. Further up the way we saw our first squirrel- fleetingly as it was chased up a tree by a dog. Back down the hill past the Queens House and Naval College- more impressive old buildings before going under the Thames through the Greenwich foot-tunnel which was cool. Popped up the other side and caught the DLR back to the city- goodbye Greenwich, we ‘joyed you.

Emerged out from the underground by chance at the Monument, built to commemorate the Great Fires of London- interesting tit bit: if the monument was laid on its side to the east its top would be in Pudding Lane where the fire was supposed to have started in the Royal Bakers Kitchen (who’d have thought so much destruction could be connected with a pudding? – Editor).

Walked home past St. Paul’s- very impressive- hope to go back and have a look inside.

On our very long walk back we decided to go via Leicester Square to get cheap tickets to see the Graduate. As it turns out we couldn’t see it that night so we got tickets for Mamma Mia instead. It rocked me, give me (sic- Editor) that feeling, rolled me…




To Alex, in October 2008

Dearest Alex

Today is the anniversary of that wonderful day when Mummy and I were married in 2002. Since then there’s been much excitement in our lives! We moved to England to experience living in another country and learn more about Europe. Later in 2003 your cousin Lachlan was born and around Easter of the next year Mitchell arrived. Wow! We had a brilliant time in St Albans but both knew when it was time to come home. 2006 was busy as we bought a car, a house and started new jobs.

All of this was really terrific but we got amazing news on Daddy’s birthday in 2007. Do you know what it was? This was the magical day when we discovered that Mummy was pregnant! It was so fantastic that Daddy almost forgot it was his birthday! Can you believe this? We spent all of that day walking around grinning like monkeys at each other and everyone, even people in Rundle Mall who we did not know! Then on February 9th in 2008 we welcomed you into our world and are still astonished at how perfect you are.

You have grown every day these eight months. You’re strong and energetic and have a robust and playful spirit. I love your face lighting up when Roxy trots into the room, you giggling whenever we play music and you chuckling like a pirate when I blow bubbles on your belly. You make us laugh and cry and smile and stare at you in awe. You’ve inherited many of Mummy’s features- her determination, ready humour and utterly gorgeous gift for losing herself totally in the moment. These are some of the reasons that six years ago today, I married Mummy.

We are so lucky that your Mummy is the remarkable person she is. Since you’ve been born she has cared for you every day and for a lot of every night too! It has been tiring but we are deeply grateful that she is devoted to you. She’s a wonderful Mummy and continues to give you the best possible beginning.

Daddy has loved watching you become beautifully curious as you learn more about your world! One night when you were small we were on the lounge and you were sitting on my knee. And then it happened! For the first time ever, you smiled at me. It made me instantly cry and shudder and laugh all at once. I’ll never forget it.

On Sundays you and Mummy and I now go to the swimming pool. You are a water baby and have fun playing games while we sing songs. It is fantastic! Despite the pool swirling with splashing, squealing kids I love how in the water it is just you and me. Going through the foam tunnel together, you jumping in from the edge and learning to kick your legs are now my favourite moments in the week.

So it’s Mummy and Daddy’s sixth wedding anniversary and I wanted to tell you about why you’ve made it so special. I can remember the first one in England when we visited the Cotswolds and stayed in a famous village called Stow-on-the-Wold. Don’t you think that’s a funny name? We were on a holiday there and spent our days exploring the green hills and patchwork fields and walking in the bright sunshine. It was great but also a bit sad because our family was home in Australia. One morning we had champagne and sparkling ale! We laughed when the champagne frothed up and spilled over the dining table in front of people we didn’t know.

As we head into your second summer with its endless days of shimmering skies your Mummy and I are happier than ever because you’re with us! You’re amazing and beautiful. We love you.