Monday 13 February, 2006


Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 11:04 am

Holly just landed on her bum in the half pipe, all the Aussies waved their flags and their banners just as fervently. They say you are never more Australian than when you are overseas, I swear I got teary when they showed an aerial shot of all the Aussie spectators with flags and giant blow up kangaroos proudly held high in the air. When we followed Le Tour de France last year I waved that flag on the end of our broom stick like a mad woman, as though my depth of pride was reflected in how hard I waved and how loud I yelled. But in Australia at a sporting event the most you get out of me would be an enthusiastic clap, in fact I’m trying to think what sporting events I’ve been to? I hate AFL, ok hate is a strong word but I very much dislike it and when Jim took me to the Grand Prix I can honestly say I would of rather spent the day cleaning the bathroom with a toothbrush. Tennis!! I love the tennis and Mark Phillipousis got me out of my seat and there may of been some yelling. But Go Aussie! only gets yelled by me in a foreign country, who knows what the downstairs neighbours think with the yelling and the feet stomping.

I’ve always enjoyed the winter Olympics more than the summer, they are so pretty with all that beautiful snow and more death defying. We watched the opening ceremony and I was thinking how much it reminded me of the Sydney opening ceremony and then I read the Australian who directed that had a big influence in the Torino opening. Any time Jim had a dig at something I said he should shut up, I mean we had people dressed as kangaroos riding bicycles and giant Hills Hoist. The Torino opening certainly show cased how much Italy has to be proud of, both in the past and present. Jim was the most excited little boy when the car came out and kept yelling its doing donuts!! its doing donuts!!. Each winter Olympics I always remember a past Olympics and a particular event, I think it was the aerial ski team jump, it was the medal decider and all this one bloke had to do was the minimum jump requirement to guarantee them, Japan I think, the Gold, it was in the bag, or so they thought. But the guy completely stuffed up and landed way short, and there he stayed crouched over his skis with his head in his hands, he stayed there for what seemed like forever, no one was to jump after him. The camera kept going back to him and he never moved and what’s worse no team mate came over, no one went near him, I can still picture him. If I remember right not only did they not get the Gold but nor the Silver or Bronze. I guess if I can’t forget it there’s little chance he’s over it, poor bugger, though it does seem a bit silly to feel sorry for an Olympian.

Thursday 9 February, 2006


Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 4:39 pm

I had an entrance test for a French language course at the University today, I just returned. The course is designed for foreign students who have already studied some French and are enrolled at the Uni in a French course and need to improve their French. Also minimum qualification required is a Degree! We figured with no other options available to me here in Lille I had to give it a go and maybe 2 Diplomas equal a Degree? I did no extra preparation for the test, I figured it was best to do my worst as I wanted to know if they thought it was beyond my capabilities. All instructions were in French of course and as well as the forms and test paper instructions. OMG the test paper, it was at least ten pages long and I know I couldn’t of made it past the first page. As people were completing the written test the teacher was meeting with each of us individualy to have a conversation, she meet with me third. By this time having read the paper, heard the level of French the other prospective students spoke and seen how rapidly they were working through the paper I was ready to get up and walk out. I told her that it was much too difficult for me and she said she understood and then she left, I got up to go also. I wasn’t upset as not having studied French formally and having only had a handful of private lessons I knew it was a long shot and was just pleased I made the effort to check it out. As I was leaving the teacher returned with a big smile and said I must not leave, there was no need, the test paper that had been handed was for their most advanced course and she gave me a different test paper. She explained it was the test paper for their lowest level course and it required me to pass it well to be accepted. After the last test paper this one looked sooooooo good, even if it was 5 pages long it didn’t matter I could understand all the text!! It asked for some basic sentence and question structure, a lot of conjugation and my pet hate gender identification, which was fine if there were clues within the sentence but otherwise I had to guess mostly. When she came around to mark it amazingly I had gotten that whole section right, I couldn’t believe it, I think because I said them in my head and picked what sounded familiar or right, the French are obsessed with things sounding right and will turn their grammar rules on their heads to make something sound right. Anyway I got in and the course starts at the end of the month and finishes at the end of June with an exam after. My only concern, besides how I will manage to discipline myself, is that we are away for a week of every month during the course. I am happy to improve my French but I will not sacrifice travel opportunities for it. Me likie travel way too much!!!

Monday 6 February, 2006

jims doodles

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 2:19 pm

Whenever I sit down at the computer the desk top is usually decorated with similar images to the one above. The meaning I can not comprehend, however I usually honour them by allowing my tea cup to rest there. So you see a scientist and a very non scientist can happily co exist!

We were unsuccessful obtaining tickets to the World Cup in the last draw but will have another bash at it next draw, fingers crossed. Good news is Jim has a couple of conferences coming up, one in Naples and another in San Fransisco, I will go also and am very excited. We think we have the scanable passports that the US require so we don’t need to bother with a visa which is good. We went and saw Brokeback Mountain on the weekend, fabulous movie but achingly sad, it took all my might not to cry and usually I wouldn’t try and stop myself, but I knew if I started I wouldn’t stop.

Can’t believe its February already, Con and Toulas baby is due the middle of the month so they are on our minds a lot and we cant wait to hear of the little ones arrival and to find out if it’s a boy or a girl. Heidi has given permission for me to tell you all that her and John know that they are to have a boy and a girl!!! Heidi is her usual well grounded self but I don’t think Johns feet are destined to touch the earth ever again.

Since you are all so shy and its our emails that receive all the comments and feedback on the site(thanks everyone) and Peta has finally got an email account(ha ha Peta), I think we might as well turn off the comments box to prevent all the spam we have been getting. Also Vas has informed us that WordPress has been updated to a new version which will make updating this site easier, so an advanced thanks to Vas.

p.s after the spiel on the comments box it seems for the time being I cant turn it off, am glad wordpress is to be updated!

Tuesday 31 January, 2006

what’s news

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 3:03 pm

I am still doing a lot of knitting, however it’s mostly gifts, except for a jumper for me, so I won’t show any of it. Three couples close to us are expecting babies (5 babies between 3, you can work that out!) so there is a lot of baby garments in the planning stages. Whilst knitting I have been listening to the ABC’s Radio National pod casts, which has been a real pleasure, the other day I put down my needles to just delight in the fact I could effortlessly understand everything that was being said. Not just the basics but the depth of meaning and the nuances of speech, when listening to French I am exhausted, but delighted, to follow just the basics. One of my favourite programmes is Books and Writing, yesterday I was read to in my lounge room by Kate Grenville, Carlos Fuentes and Alice Munro, I loved the sound of Munros Runaway so much I ordered it off Amazon, but for less then $18 Aussie dollars to my door I don’t think it was extravagant.

In other news I have not had much luck with the job applications, all replys have been that it is to late in the school year, as it is a requirement that all teaching contracts are signed by early December. I will have to try private schools, however I hope to start a French course at the Lille Uni next month which is 3 full days a week and with the English classes I give I will be busy.
Jim has had some news of which he is his usual modest self about, but not I, I am full of pride for my clever husband. Some of his research has produced results that warrant a patent, it will carry his name and has required a lot of paperwork and his account details, he says the monetary rewards will be minimum. So this outcome as well has his published papers have made his post doc in Lille very rewarding

The past few weekends have been spent quietly as we are saving our pennies for a ski trip next month. Other holiday plans are a trip to Greece in May and we hope to find out soon that we have been successful in obtaining World Cup tickets for the Australia Croatia match in Stuttgart. What a coincidence it’s Stuttgart, it will be fun to return and to visit some friends and we will have no trouble finding our way around.

I have been failing miserable of late on the domestic goddess front, going through a faze where I am not passionate about what I cook for dinner, luckily Jim has picked up the slack on the weekends and has been inspired by Jamie Olivers Italy. I have been in such a rut that I resorted to cooking Burritos the other night but we both confessed they were pretty yummy. One thing I am into is bread making and the winner is Donna Hays Muscatel and Cinnamon, I prepare it of a night time and let the second prove be a cold overnight one. The next morning just pop it in the oven and 35 mins later you have a fresh delicious loaf, it so delicious that I have baked it, with variations, every weekend since we returned from Spain, last weekend I made it with banana and fig.

We saw Munich on Sunday arvo and both enjoyed it, I thought Eric’s performance was flawless, my French teacher thought it difficult to follow but I don’t agree and found it’s lack of pretension reflected well on Speilbergs part, who I am not normally a fan of. Is Eric Bana usually so sexy?

So what’s with the photo? We don’t hear or see a lot of English in these parts, so I was quite surprised to find some on a dumped mattress out the front of a neighbours!

Sunday 29 January, 2006

woof woof

Filed under: Claire's Entries — claire @ 7:37 am

Happy New Year

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