Hazel to Pat on April 26, 1995

The tenth of a batch of eleven letters taken from Hazel's laptop.

Wednesday 26 April 1995

Dear Pat,

Well, your van is a great success. It has been brought out many times notwithstanding Joshua's tendency to collect rather than use his toys. One day he transformed the lounge into car city with the van and car wash and their respective maps and my home-made map and the green vinyl map and a thousand dinky cars. After several days of tip-toeing round this ankle-spraining scene we got used to it. I finally packed it up today. The helicopter was also a success but the blades were not precisely aligned which led to it crashing into the wall instead of floating around the room as I imagined it should. Alas, the blades did not last long. The slides were a perfect gift for Zoë who regularly tarts herself up. And thank you also for the Bizet tapes -- we haven't as yet listened to them, I suddenly realise -- it's difficult to get adult use of anything these days -- tapes, CDs, radio, phone, TV, computer -- they are far too user friendly and are in great demand by J and Z. It will be a treat in store for us one night when J and Z are safely in bed. So many thanks for all your presents and I enclose a note from Joshua which we composed together and he wrote.

I'm also enclosing some photos of his birthday party. We hired his pre-school premises and a magician/clown who was terrific -- had them all enthralled. He invited all the boys in his class and not one girl from the class but he did invite a girl who lives up the street. She kept Zoë company together with another boy's 3-year-old sister who cried most of the time because the clown was too frightening.

We have just returned from our inaugural camping trip en famille. We went with another 3 families and camped on a property on the banks of a normally wide-flowing river which had all but disappeared in the drought. We camped round a delightful log cabin with rain water tank, stove etc. It was bloody cold despite my new sleeping bag which was supposed to be snug to -8 degrees. After the first night there were a few murmurings about the noise coming from our tent, so Rob made himself as scarce as he could without freezing to death by hiding himself in the log cabin. He's been taking a new wonder nasal spray which considerably reduces the blast each night which some present found hard to believe. It was a lovely spot, the company was great -- the kids entertained themselves and the oldies (that's us) spent hours on end reading the newspapers and doing the crossword. By the way, I visited the nearby town and saw what purported to be an original, signed oil painting by Maurice Utrillo -- a French post impressionist, painting in and around the 1930s. The asking price was $125. If it was what it purported to be, it should have been priced in the the tens of thousands of dollars. I enjoyed regaling the campers with this news and debating whether I should buy it, we all should buy it, whether I liked it or not and, unbelievably, who wanted the money anyway. I tell you we got pretty relaxed on this weekend. Now, of course I think we were all in some mental torpor brought on by the rigours of camping and it was a good job we were only staying a few days.

My sleeping has improved but is still very erratic. My "cure" wore off. I had a mammogram last week which was clear. I have to take the X-rays to the surgeon for a check-up next week and I am due to start work the same week It's 2 days a week and it remains to be seen whether the job can be done in 2 days. I've put on a bit of weight -- I'm nearly 10 & a half stone now -- the heaviest I've ever been -- the result of a life without exercise to speak of. I'm also wearing glasses for reading now -- reading the street directory had become impossible and they help to hide the wrinkles. My hair has thickened up and grown and can be gelled into shape.

Rob's brother Andy has just been on the phone. His wife is about to have her first baby at age 45. And you thought I was old.

Better close. Thanks again for all your parcels. I tried not to take too much notice of the stamps. Hope all goes well with you. Have you been to the gym? seen any new houses? done any more sculptures? lost any weight? sorted out your car? My painting teacher has an exhibition opening next week in the city comprising a series of paintings he did on his travels overseas last year. We are going to the opening. Curtis and Christine are having a screening of their new documentary on Indonesia this Sunday which we are looking forward to. I really had better close. It's midnight.

All our love, Hazel, Rob, Joshua and Zoë.

Well, closing doesn't mean anything without printing these days. Since I wrote the above I have seen Christine's short film and Curtis and Christine's longer documentary on Indonesia which was funny and featured Curtis for the first time in one of his own films. We also had a call from Rob's cousin in Melbourne to tell us that we were going to get an original painting by their cousin who died last year in her eighties and was one of Australia's known, though minor, painters. I can hardly wait to get my hands on it. Rob's cousin's wife, Sue, is an art teacher. Also had a phone call from Raye Williams from Mackay and she's coming to stay for a week in June. She knows my painting teacher and respects his work. Anyway, better go, it's my first day back at work tomorrow, that is, in 7 hours' time. All our love for now.

Last Updated 10 December 2000