Friday, 28 March 2014

The Alphabet Weekends - F is for Fremantle

I'm writing this at the computer in the local library, Annalisa asleep beside me in her pram. I have to rush this post because I have no idea how long she will stay asleep. We've recently moved house and I have no internet access. I haven't blogged since my last edition of The Alphabet Weekends. Now we're up to 'F'. How quickly the year is passing.

Last weekend we spent the day in Fremantle for our F weekend activity. Fremantle, for those not familiar with it, is the major port city in Western Australia; the gateway through which thousands of migrants first entered Australia. It's a city that I have always felt drawn to - a touch of Europe just south of the state capital, the most isolated capital city in the world.

I love wandering down its streets and alleys, where aromas of coffee and incense float through the air. It has a strong Italian influence due to influx of migrants in the post-war period and wonderful coffee, pizza and gelato are easily found.

There is also a strong bohemian atmosphere to the city, especially on the weekends, when the famous Fremantle Markets are open. Buskers abound, live music fills the air. Every food place we enter has staff who speak with a foreign accent. The fusion of old and new, historic and alternative is exciting, fascinating, mesmerizing.

Fremantle always surprises me. Every time I visit, it opens my eyes to something new. It is a place that gives me energy and inspires me to be more creative.

But now my time on the internet here in the library is almost up, so I will let the photographs tell the rest of the story ...

With a tired baby girl in tow, we headed home on the train in the late afternoon. We really only scratched the surface of what there is to discover in this place. But they're the best kind of adventures really, aren't they, the ones that leave you with a desire to return as soon as possible to discover more.

Do you feel particularly drawn to any city or town?

Have you ever been to Fremantle? Do you have a favourite place to visit there?

And can you help me think of an activity we can do for 'G'?

Friday, 14 March 2014

The Alphabet Weekends - brought to you by the letter E (and the Guinness Book of Records)

My son is obsessed with the Guinness Book of Records. If you need to know who is the tallest, shortest, fastest or oldest person in the world, he's your man. He likes to remind me often of the woman who holds the record for giving birth to the most children (which, according to The Book, is 69!!) usually followed by the phrase I want more siblings! 

I knew that sooner or later his fixation with world records would make its way onto the blog and now that moment has come. Last weekend was 'E' time on The Alphabet Weekends (that's our challenge to do 26 fortnightly activities in 2014, each starting with a consecutive letter of the alphabet) and although I dearly wanted 'E' to be for eating, we decided to go for the other end of the spectrum and do some serious exercise while attempting to break some of those Guinness Records along the way ...

We decided on four different exercises, which we stationed around the house.

The first was skipping (with a rope).

My memory of skipping was that it was simple and fun. I'd even been on the skipping squad in primary school one year. Twenty-something years later, it was far from simple, but still just as fun.

Now according to the Guinness Book of Records:
  • The record for the fastest time skipping a distance of 100m with a rope is 15.3 seconds
  • To raise money for charity, a Canadian man skipped an entire marathon with a rope in 4 hours, 28 minutes and 48 seconds
  • A freakishly fit guy called Joey Motsay, from the USA, once skipped rope continuously for 33 hours and twenty minutes

As for us - Ben managed to do 15 skips in a row before tripping over the rope and I managed a grand total of six.

Our second station was long jump.

According to Guinness, the record for the longest recorded long jump for a male is 8.95m and for a female is 7.52m.

Ben jumped 3.2m. According to his measurement, I jumped 50cm, although I'm sure that's wrong. It felt like at least 55!

Here's a fact I wasn't expecting to find: in 2012, a British Guinea Pig called Truffles performed a record-breaking long jump of 48cm. I do feel somewhat comforted that I can at least jump longer than a guinea pig!

Exercise station number three was trampolining.

Why didn't anyone ever tell me that after you've had kids, bouncing on a trampoline is never the same again? I am not going to go into too many details here, suffice to say that after four bounces I thought my insides were going to end up on my outsides.

If the GBOR  is anything to go by, people really do all manner of things on trampolines. They don't just bounce on them -  they play basketball on them, they do somersaults while playing basketball on them, they bounce unicycles and they hula hoop on them.  They even see who can cover 100m in the fastest time on them (would that be a very long trampoline, do you think, or lots of normal ones joined together?)

The record for the most seat-drops on a trampoline in one minute is 49, achieved by Oleksandr Nakonechny . I am unsure if Oleksandr is a man or a woman (I'm going to go with man though). I'm also unsure what a seat-drop is. Do you think it might be a fancy way of saying 'bouncing on your bum' by any chance??

Our last station was planking (as in the abdominal plank)

Ben was out to set all kinds of planking records, but he had a little visitor who had other ideas ...

The longest recorded time anyone has ever held an abdominal plank position is 3 hours, 7 minutes and 15 seconds.

Ben lasted 90 seconds.

I lasted 22.


I must admit though that exercising turned out to be a lot more fun than I thought it would be and I certainly provided Ben with some memorable entertainment.

Originally, I started sharing our Alphabet Weekend Adventures on Wordless Wednesday link-ups, but since I have accepted that I am physically incapable of being wordless, I thought I would link up with Grace instead for Flog Yo Blog Friday.

So what type of exercise do you like best? 

Do you have any thoughts about what we can do next fortnight for the letter F? 

Have you bounced on a trampoline since having kids???