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The remains of the day

22 October, 2010

The day was getting on.  We had been to the Circus space (twice), we’d dressed up, sang, danced, coloured in, gardened, patted dinosaurs and played with musical plants.  We’d made puppets and wishes.

We then went back to the Art Space where the children each made a collage – but I insisted it needed to be on paper so it would be easy to carry back home on the train. By the time we’d finished there, it was almost 2:30. We sat and watched an Aboriginal singing duo called Yarning Circle while we ate afternoon tea, then headed to a story time and author talk by up-and-coming Australian author Aleesah Darlison.

Ms Darlison talked about herself, about her love of animals and how she became a writer.  She talked about the place where she grew up and read us a story she’d written as a child.  Then she talked about the Australian animals she loved and about one in particular – the echidna.  We learnt a lot about echidnas, especially about baby echidnas, called puggles.

She then read her latest picture book Puggle’s Problem, and had scans of the book in a powerpoint presentation on a wide screen TV, which made it easy for everyone to see the pictures.  I had been expecting more of a story time and less of an author talk but I enjoyed it nonetheless (despite chasing Rhiannon around the large room and leaving the room while my Nana watched the others twice for nappy changes) and Zoe and Reuben were attentive the whole time.

By the time the talk finished, the Festival was coming to a close. We arrived about ten minutes after it started at 10am and left about ten mins before it finished at 4pm. It was a big day.

We got the first Penrith train from Redfern, which was a mountains train that went to Lithgow. Mountains trains are relatively quick, stopping in fewer places, but there is a problem. There is no “foyer” area where you can comfortably sit or stand with a pram. So before we got on the train we had to get all the bags off the pram and all the other odds and ends out of the pram (including child) and hop on the train carrying it all. The train was packed and we ended up spending most of the trip with the five of us squished into the seat designed for two people. Which had an armrest in the middle. Josiah stayed on my back in the ergo the whole time while Reuben sat on my lap and the girls shared the other seat. Nana was on the train with us as far as Strathfield, while the others had gone home earlier (right after Picture Us).

The train trip home was fairly good, and they spent most of the time eating and listening to me read Little House In The Big Woods. Then we had to walk back to the mechanic to get the car. Somehow the children still had energy left so we went to the park near Kingswood station to wait for Mark to get off the train. If that wasn’t enough, after dinner, children stayed up an extra hour later than normal while Zoe, Reuben and I set each other maths problems (including Zoe writing a googol plus one hundred… in numbers!). They were tired and cranky the following day as a result, but we had a good time and we’re looking forward to going to the festival again next year.

Everything we did at the festival was free – our only cost for the day was train tickets and some doughnuts I bought from the bakery near our house for morning tea.  We may try some of the paid workshops next year, depending on interest level and suitability.  I’d thoroughly recommend going next year if you can!

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