We had a hang around the house day yesterday - a bit of play, a bit of housework, a bit of crochet, a bit of television. Not much of anything in particular - a rest day.
Today I'd planned to whisk the children away for an end-of-school-holidays last hurrah, but it looked as if my plans were going to be thwarted - both children and husband were glued to the Bathurst car race, and there was much loud barracking for Ford to be heard (and calls for Holden drivers to crash - whose children are these?!?).
But I got my way after they'd walked in front of the television once too often, and jumped on the husband many times, and become generally annoying and distracting. So off we went to the National Film & Sound Archive. I haven't been there in years, but remember visiting when it was still the Institute of Anatomy, and contained Phar Lap's heart (which is now in the National Museum of Australia). It's housed in a gorgeous building that I thought was Art Deco, but is apparently an architectural style called ‘Late 20th Century Stripped Classical’.
You walk in through those front doors, pay nothing (how I love living in a city full of national institutions with no entry fee!), and either turn right to enter a lovely theatrette or proceed straight through into a sunny courtyard surrounded by a cafe (overpriced like most of these places), the permanent exhibition room, the Arc theatre and various offices. Naturally the children wanted to go in opposite directions, so I made an executive decision and we headed to the right. The theatrette was showing a 70 minute loop presentation of significant Australian films, but the kids lasted less than ten minutes before the whining started, and as there were other visitors enjoying the presentation we left to try the other direction.
I was pleasantly surprised by how much the kids enjoyed the permanent exhibition. Not all of it - "Come on Mum - this is boooooring!" - but they soon zeroed in on certain areas like the touch screens showing excerpts from television shows like Skippy, Mr Squiggle (how I loved Blackboard: "Hurry up! Hurry up!") and Playschool (which has been running since 1966 and is still going strong). There was plenty to keep them occupied there, but they finally dragged themselves away long enough to find a zoetrope and have a go at making their own 'moving pictures':
I wandered down a bit further while they were busy and watched Olivia Newton-John's 'Physical' video (cringe), Scott & Charlene's wedding (hehe - I remember seeing that the first time around!), and a clip from Priscilla: Queen of the Desert (Miss Tizz was agog when I told her they were men dressed up, and that I used to frequent the pub where part of the movie was filmed). I also caught parts of Number 96, Helen Reddy singing I am woman, and a report from Darwin following Cyclone Tracy (the husband was living there at the time, and their family was evacuated to Canberra).
And then there was the radio sound effects display. Just a small area, but very attractive to small children. Doors to slam, a rainmaker, shoes to make a walking sound, and old Bakelite telephone, and (best of all) half coconut shells to make galloping horse noises. Lots of fun!
We stayed until closing time, and then had a short play out on the lawns at the front of the building. "Quick - here comes Mum. Hide!":
Across the road is the building now known as the Shine Dome - one day we'll do a proper visit there:
Now the children are fed, washed & asleep, and I'm not ready for them to go back to school just yet. But they'll be heading back tomorrow, and loving it. And I might just start planning for the Christmas holidays ...