Dear Amelia,
Someone has just emailed me and asked where Emu Point is.
So here are some details (pay attention, there will be a quiz later).
Emu Point is a few kilometres north-east of the Albany town centre and about a 10-minute drive from where your Grandpa and I live.
I had some very happy holidays there as a kid, staying at the Rose Gardens Caravan Park with my Mum and Dad and sister.
I’ve never seen any emus at Emu Point, only pelicans and fishermen and lots of locals and tourists who use the beach.
It’s very pretty and also the place where you can buy Albany Rock Oysters from a bloke called Ray Kilpatrick (no kidding) for $14 a dozen.
We’ve got a dozen sitting in the fridge right now, freshly shucked, bought this morning, ready for dinner tonight.
Here are some beautiful photos of Emu Point taken by your Grandpa.

All photos by Leith Phillips. Isn’t this one a corker?


Dear Amelia,
Do you look like the sort of girl who’d stick a “sparkle” up her nose?
The doctor at the hospital’s Emergency Department didn’t seem to think so.
After the obligatory 3½-hour wait, he got your mum to hold one of your nostrils at a time and blow really hard into your mouth to clear out everything in your nasal passages.
Sadly, it was all snot and no sparkle and most of it ended up on your Mum’s face.
When you and Mum and Dad got home and you were still screaming, “Mummy sparkle ouch”, your Mum stuck her little finger up your nose and slid out a sequin.

As she said when her ordeal was over: Imagine if you’d stuck something up your bum.



Dear Amelia,
It’s really strange to think that when you grow up you won’t remember your Mum and Dad’s wedding, even though you were there.
It’s because of a thing called childhood amnesia, which means that most of us don’t remember anything from before the age of three.
Take it from me, it was the best wedding EVER: happy and beautiful, emotional and exciting, and lots and lots of fun (especially the dancing later on and Andrew’s hilarious MC-ing and the speeches your Grandpa and Uncle Paul made – they brought the house down).
You and your Mum looked absolutely gorgeous and your Dad was handsome with a capital H.
Forest Hill Winery was like something out of a fairy tale – all rolling mists and candlelight and log fires, plus beautiful food and wine.

The only sad note was that you caught the flu two days before and were very sick.
On the upside it meant Nanna had an excuse to pull you into bed with her two nights in a row.
And I must say that all things considered, you were an absolute trooper on the night itself.
During the wedding weekend, you, your Grandpa, your Uncle Paul and I stayed at a very interesting eco cottage in Denmark.
I say interesting because it had a composting toilet, which we knew about, but for some reason we weren’t told it was a five-hour trek from the house.
OK, it was a five-minute trek, but seriously scary at night when the rain was coming down in slabs and your mind naturally drifted to things like killer kangaroos and axe murderers lurking in the forest out the back.
Nanna doesn’t usually condone peeing in the shower but it was either that or borrow one of your nappies.
One of the upsides of this eco heaven was this view of Wilson Inlet from the lounge room.

And this as well – about 20 kangaroos gathered each day, which you loved, even though the two big ones in the middle were always knocking hell out of each other.

When we got back to Albany, we did all sorts of stuff, you and I. And it was wonderful.
We stood out on the deck and waved at the herons and pelicans that fly down the valley to Lake Seppings every night.
Then we went into the garden and looked for the moon.

We bounced like kangaroos, played chasey up the passage and shouted at Ella when she kept stealing your ugg boots.
We fed the ducks at Eyre Park.
We proved that an almost-two-year-old can walk along every single window sill inside the house without killing herself so long as her Nanna is there to catch her (God knows how I got myself into that one but, once started, there was no going back. I aged at least 10 years).
We sang Knick-Knack Paddy-Whack approximately 1,013 times.
We put on concerts for Ra-Ra, Puppy, Teddy and the Babies and made sure they ate balanced, nutritious meals.

We watched Giggle and Hoot in the morning.

And we watched Teletubbies at night (or maybe it was the other way round).

We changed Ra-Ra’s nappy approximately 1,013 times (“Nanna! Oh no! More poos!”).
I must say that if I’d known when we bought him at K-Mart that Ra-Ra was such a prolific shitter, I probably would’ve passed him by, but hindsight is a fine thing, isn’t it?

It was the longest time you’ve ever stayed on your own with Nanna and Grandpa and it was absolutely the best.
When your Mum and Dad took you home there was really only one word I could use to describe how I felt.


Dear Amelia,
I’ve been asked what you were doing when your mother and I were gallivanting at the hens’ night on Saturday.
You were at home, of course, with your Dad.
You played and you skipped and you sang and you chatted.
Then you kindly helped Dad set up a poker game for him and his mates before you retired for the night.
Nanna can already see that your superior multi-tasking abilities are going to take you far in life.
Keep it up.


Dear Amelia,
Further to my Mother’s Day letter, here’s the latest picture of Blue Ivy’s feet.
I worry she’ll be the only child in the history of the world to grow up afraid of the light.


Dear Amelia,
This is a picture of my sister, your Great Aunty Pauline.
She died yesterday morning from cancer.
It happened so suddenly – just two weeks from diagnosis to death – that we’re all still stunned.
I wanted to post a picture of her on here because she thought you were wonderful but also because unless you’re, say, Great Aunty Princess Di or Great Aunty Whitney Houston, you tend to get lost in the branches of the family tree.
Great Aunties are not usually the ones we remember, are they?
This picture was taken out on the deck when your Great Aunty Pauline came to stay with us for a holiday last year.
See all that red hair?
It hadn’t been cut for decades and was a pretty good indicator of her temper.
She could feud for Australia when she put her mind to it.
But she also had a big, loving heart and a fine intellect; an encyclopaedic knowledge of cricket and contemporary music; the sort of general knowledge that made you quake when she suggested a game of Trivial Pursuit; an abiding interest in what was happening in the world, not just on her own doorstep; and a talent for knitting, sewing and cooking that was legendary.
She was only 56 and at the moment I’m very angry at the universe that she died so young.
I’m going to miss her.



Dear Amelia,
This has got nothing to do with food.
I just thought I should show you what a badly worded government press release looks like in case they’re extinct when you grow up.
What can I say except that I hope you’re never asked to embed a tool in your workplace?
Much love,
PS: “Badly worded” and “government press release” are actually synonymous. I’ll explain it to you when you’re seven.


Dear Amelia,

This post has got nothing to do with food except that in this picture you are eating (a Johnson’s baby wipe, but no matter – it’s hypo-allergenic).

And in this picture you are standing on Nanna and Grandpa’s table in your new shoes.

I just wanted to show you how beautiful you were when you were one year, four months and 19 days old.