Monday, October 19, 2009


I'm not sure which sensation I preferred: my first dip in the hot tub for more than eighteen months or the knowledge that I could now count amongst my friends-of-friends a highly competent plumber. Little more than a stagnant water feature and potential toddler death-trap since the heating element packed up the Christmas before last, I had avoided peering beneath the leatherette cover since March for fear of attack by some kind of primordial sea serpent.

Yet neither sensation was quite as relaxing as our recent holiday to Newport, a town about three hours south-west of Portland on the Pacific Coast. I had put off holidaying for an entire year on the basis that I couldn't think of anything that we could do for a holiday that would be any less work than staying at home. My darling Ethan, sweet apple of my eye, can be something of a handful in a restaurant, and when we last stayed at a hotel decided he had to get up at 3am. He then had to be hugged/wrestled back to sleep by yours truly, eliciting a vocal response that Rachel was certain would provoke a call to Lincoln City's finest.

So the bar was set pretty low for our sojourn and I am happy to report that the trip wildly surpassed my expectations. By day three, I actually felt relaxed - a nostalgic sensation. The sea air exhausted Ethan and he slept well and without fuss. We self-catered in a lovely condominium, with a balcony overlooking the ocean. Ethan and I played on the beach. A lot. Rachel went deep sea fishing and brought back several large rock bass which we ate for our tea each night - the freshest and finest fish I've ever eaten. A cafe around the corner served both the best scones (of the American variety) and best quiche (crustless, sublime) I've ever eaten too.

At one point I threw a beach ball in the air and the wind took it north along the beach faster than Ethan and I could run. We ran anyway, Ethan laughing continuously. Walkers travelling in the opposite direction provided reports on its passage. Eventually we found it, parked against leeward side of a modest dune, over a mile from its launch point. We took two hours to hike back, sliding down the sandy slopes, sometimes repeatedly if they proved particularly engaging.

Running through the underwater tunnels at Newport's Aquarium.

A handsome jellyfish ambles by.

Ethan displayed little difficulty in summiting the enormous sand dune at Pacific City.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Oregon State Fair 2009

Without further ado, here are my pictures from our annual trip to the State Fair. As per usual, a fantastic time was had by all!