Search Results for: Bel Far Niente

Big Lap WA 2015- Days 45- 49 Bel Far Niente (Italian for Home)

We stopped at Warracknabeal for some breakfast, I needed coffee and then we just kept on going.

The other places we had thought of to go were also getting bad weather and basically the whole of Victoria was stuffed… so we set our sails for St. Leonards because we have been there for about 10 years and we know from experience that whenever the rest of Victoria is having damaging winds and storms they usually miss it.. so I was feeling like we were off to our safe place!

Sure enough as we came into Geelong the sun was shining and the temperature was slowly creeping up and I was feeling much better!

Bel Far Niente (Beautiful doing nothing) … I’ve written about her before like here and here too So you’ll know how special it is to me.. it’s my escape from the real world when it gets too hard I run to my “safe place” there are no hard and fast chores and things everything is laid back and easy.. he hardest thing to think about in St.Leonards is what to eat and when!

So walking in the door I could have cried in happiness.. and the shower.. I reckon it was the best shower ever!!

We said we’d “stay one or two nights” because we were meeting my bestie and her family on the Friday which would be day 49

After a good nights sleep and a lazy day we decided we’ve just staying here till we need to be in the Grampians to meet Deanne. We got caught up on our laundry, and our reading, we sorted and DE cluttered the trailer and on the Thursday my daughter Amber came for the day with my son Jarrah, a friend Reece and my Sweetpea.. oh boy have I ever missed those Grand babies!! We had a few hours of one on one and then waved them all Goodbye until we came home for good.

A real bed made such a difference after all the setting up and breaking down of camps all over Australia, I found myself feeling a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz… “there’s no place like home” even if it was only my second home.

By the time it came to Friday morning, I was excited to go camping again to see my Bestie, I haven’t seen her for ages… even though the weather reports were NOT sounding good, The Bloke even went as far as to call Steve –Mr Bestie and warn him about the weather forecast and they said “Well we are still going”so we said “We will see you there.”… we left St. Leonards at 10.30am and it was a grey overcast day but it was warm.. we’ve been having some high humidity so it’s not so bad!

We got to Halls Gap in the Grampians at 2.30pm and by 4.00pm we were all set up.. just sitting around waiting for the rest of the gang to arrive.

We’ve been to A LOT of caravan parks this trip, and so we’ve had A LOT of different camping sites but this one was the absolute worst!!

NaBloPoMo December is Joy… Bel Far Niente day one.



Joy for me is “getting away from it all” at our holiday place called “Bel Far Niente” so here are some photos of things we did today.. Except the dreaded Chrissy shopping.. Yes we did that first, I HATE shopping, my 12-year-old Star Son said “Mum you are the first girl I have ever heard say that!” I do not enjoy the rush, the stress of buying gifts for people who wont enjoy them and I hate the lines and I hate the wrapping, I just do NOT like it at all.

My Bloke is not the least bit original.. I got a Bluestone pan and a Magic Bullet blender thingy, both of which I wanted but I didn’t want to go shop for them and I wont be wrapping them. Anyways bah humbug for shopping…

Then back here we got to slip into “relaxation mode” oh! And we slept in till 8:40am all three of us, almost unheard of! Until Daughter number one called and woke us all up.

I needed a photo for my “Fat Mum Slim, photo a day challenge” #fmsphotoadayDecember over at Instagram, and today was “sign” so as soon as the rain stopped I convinced Star Son to come to the beach with me, here is the said sign..


It’s a fish identification sign, so people can work out what they’ve caught and whether or not they can keep it. The pelicans like to hang around near this sign because they know they’ll get handouts!



A few days ago I got a new phone,I phone 5S, so we had fun today playing with the camera!

I’ll show you what we did… Snap shot of Day One of Joy!!


Bel Far Niente- Part two.

She is also known for white flowers....... these are frangapani

She is also known for white flowers……. these are frangapani

And here she is in her new home at Bel Far Niente

And here she is in her new home at Bel Far Niente

Or so I thought...

Or so I thought…

Shells and pearls are her gift from the sea

Shells and pearls are her gift from the sea

Pearls around her neck.

Pearls around her neck.

So I did manage to finish “Goddess Yemaya” whom is the goddess of the sea. Here is a little blurb about her….
Goddess Yemaya’s domain is water, rivers, and what is often considered the birthplace of all of life on earth – the oceans and the seas. She is specifically associated with the upper part of the ocean, which contains the most life. Her first gift was a shell so that her people would always be able to hear her voice. Her name Mother Whose Children are the Fish, denotes that her children are countless and further relates her infinite and all encompassing life giving aspect.
Her symbols and associations include, the sea/ocean, rivers and all bodies of water, the six-pointed star, pearls, cowrie shells, mother of pearl, sea shells, silver, Mother Mary, mermaids, the full moon, the crescent moon, white flowers, the number 7, and the colors blue and white. Yemaya is typically depicted as a mermaid or as a beautiful woman emerging from the sea – often with pearls pouring from her palms. She is sometimes referenced as wearing seven skirts of blue and white
. Taken from

So when last I was here I showed the undercoated top half of her body, and I kept going I’m so proud with how she ended up finally… I left her sitting around for almost a week until I decided that she needed more and so I asked her “what else can I add?” and here is the final result….

Then when she was done or so I thought….. I added more…..

In the end I am happy with how Yemaya’s turned out, I can’t wait to see who visits me next!

Bel Far Niente

Delicious texture in one of Yemaya's layers... shes got lots more to go!

Delicious texture in one of Yemaya’s layers… shes got lots more to go!

She's a work in progress

She’s a work in progress

Yemaya 002_resizeOur holiday place in named this because I was reading the book “Eat, Pray, Love” and she said it meant “The Art of doing nothing” or something like that, and when we go to our holiday place that is what we do N-O-T-H-I-N-G! And that’s excatly why we go there t’s our relaxing, unwinding place and I quite often get inspired to do great art, but then one of my Italian penfriends tells me it really means “Beautiful doing nothing” and that works too!!

Whie I was down there last weekend I was thinking about a piece of art to do for the wall down there and it’s at the beach and we have piles of shells and special rocks and featger and sea glass and other collected “stuff”I was thinking I wonder how I can get to combine enough of that stuff onto a canvas and all of a sudden literally it hit me “Mermaid” I knew there was a Goddess of the Sea so I started researching, and she “Yemaya” was perfect, so today I got started on her too.. I did the background a few days ago, her colours are “sky blue, white and silver” perfect! silver is close to glitter my favourite! She’s often seen with white flowers (frangapani?!) and shells, all of which I have in abndance and she’s quite often seen wearing or holiding pearls… Oh boy did my mind start running!! Yemaya has been calling me for a while, but that doesnt mean I can get her out of my head onto canvas or paper….until today!!

She is very much a work in progress, so keep chekcing back on Yemaya’s progress.

Happy New Year!!

Here we are at the start of another year.

I have been taking a break from blogging and journaling since I got back from our Big Lap.

So many things have been happening, I just didn’t have time or energy to blog and even my poor journal has fallen by the way side.

So here is a quick update….

We got back in November and hit the ground running…

November 21st Sweetpea turned two and we had an afternoon tea, in the meantime we started cleaning the back deck which needed cleaning and finished the garden boxes which have been nick named “garden coffins” they are that shape.. we planted them with Daphne, a tomato plant, a gardenia and an Australian native I am still to get a rose for the other Grand daughter.

We had Wedding rehearsal on the Wednesday which was the 25th and had a final look at the space where we would be setting up the reception etc. I also got my eye brows waxed and tinted and my nails done, a little bit of spoiling after roughing it in tents for two months.

Sunday 29th November 2015.

Still cant quiet believe I haven’t written about this yet, I am guessing after my Grand babies births this was so far the greatest highlight of my life. My first born got married. We still don’t have the wedding photos back yet but I’ll share a few of the ones I do have.

bridal party

The Bridal party,

Left to right… Stewie, Bride-Jasmin, Groom- Brett and Ella.

bride and groom

My new Son-in-law Brett and my beautiful girl.


flower girl

“Aunty Jazzy” and flower girl “Sweetpea”

funny Jasmin

I’m not sure what she was doing here but I love that face!!


mother and son dance

Mother and Son dance.


paige boy

Page Boy, and Son of the happy couple

 photo bomb

This is my cousin and her family and my first ever photo bomb, taken by the photographer!!

walking down the aisle 

Escorting my girl down the aisle.

wall shot

This is going to be a wall shot!! taken by our photographer Gabbie Hine.

I escorted her down the aisle and I don’t know how many people I had telling me what a blubbering mess I would be.. I shocked them all and even myself when I didn’t cry, not even during my speech which actually made a few people laugh! I made it through, my goal for the night was to do my speech without A- crying and B- inserting umm or errr in too many places In fact I didn’t stumble at all! I was so proud of myself and then my Brother Bill made me cry before the night was out but that wasn’t about the wedding so it’s not counting!!

After the Wedding we had Squishy’s 2nd birthday party and then fast came upon us Christmas.

Christmas…. hmm, if you were reading my posts in 2014 you might have read that I do not like Chrtistmas, I don’t like the commercialism of it all.. you stress and worry and within minutes it’s all over and the day goes on. But this year I decided to embrace the festive season and even suggested we have lunch at home… *sigh* sometimes I’m such a fool and this highlights it all.. Next year (or this one anyways!) I’m not having Christmas in fact plans are being made to go away for a month to Tasmania camping.

We decided to have lunch at our house, so the Bloke cooked a turkey our first ever and roast pork. My cousin and her family came and brought chickens and potato salads. We also had hot vegetables and roasted potatoes and pumpkin and gravy, and then the weather heated up to 39C and we all baked along with the food!! There was a wild fire about 1.5 kilometres away and e sat on the back deck, fighting away flies and fanning away the smoke.

The turkey and roast Pork were a huge success and we were happy with how they turned out, but the rest of it I didn’t enjoy! I find that you rush around waiting on everyone and making sure the house is clean and the presents are wrapped and then the whole day is over and you rush around doing the dishes and the floors and getting rid of a mountain of wrapping paper. I “tried” to embrace it and failed I don’t enjoy it, I’m not doing it again!!

As soon as all that was over we took off to Bel Far Niente for a few days to unwind from all that madness… which lead us to New Year EVE!

This year we went camping with some good friends to Ballarat. We have been to Ballarat a gazillion times and so I wasn’t terribly excited to go camping there, but it just goes to show be careful of judging, because we had a great time. The caravan park we stayed in “Goldmine” had a great solar heated pool which we gladly spent a lot of time in and out of. The bathrooms were clean and well cared for, there was a camp kitchen and  plenty for the kids to do, so My Bestie and I were able to sit and crochet and chatter or read our books or just lounge around, it was HOT!! We stayed there until Sunday 3rd January.

So that brings us up to now and New Years Resolutions.. I make them each year I kind of look at them as “goals” and I check back on them often. So this year I made three.. easy ones…

  1. Gain my diploma in Biblical studies. (I need to do 144 units, so far I’ve finished 3)
  2. Become a vegetarian ( we had raw roast lamb on 1st Jan 2016- normally I don’t mind it a little bit rare but this was too much blood and it made me feel quite ill, and then I got this thought it my head a snippet of some bible verse about God being the lamb and the blood of the lamb.. and that was enough for me.. I quit meat on the spot!)
  3. Read 50 books for the year.

In 2015- I did a challenge with Reannon and Pip Lincoln  to “Read Australian Authors” and I did and I loved it I only read three non Aussie books all year, but I found I have a huge pile left still of Australian authors so I am continuing that on again this year. So I’ve made a Good reads Goal to read 50 books… here is what last year looked like.. 2015 in books

Anyways so that brings us up to date and hopefully I’ll be back into regular blogging to keep you up to date with whats new for 2016…


Big Lap WA 2015- Day 54… Home Sweet Home..

Back about I guess a week or more ago, I mentioned I’ve had enough.. I was getting closer to home and the closer I got the more I kept thinking of the things at home I could be doing, or should be doing or just the fact that it’s been 50 odd days since I’ve seen the Grand babies… so when we woke up this morning in Bel Far Niente in St. Leonards I just wanted to go home.

The Bloke had been talking a few days earlier about some projects around the house he wanted to get done, preferably before summer or Christmas and I am having withdrawals from Art and my Art Studio and my Grand babies and even the dogs I am missing them too. Plus while we’ve been away, Sasha, who is Sweet Pea’s Kitty, had kittens under the back deck and after getting a tearful phone call from Amber and sorting them out on how to get the kittens out to safety, I feel like it’s time to go home, Star Son said “What are we doing, we’re wasting time just sitting here” and yes he was right and for once I didn’t want to smack him and tell him to shut up! So we packed up and hitched Matilda to Heidi for the last time this trip and prepared to go home.

In the Caravan Park there are speed humps which stop you from hooning around too fast you should drive only at walking pace 8 kms an hour.. it’s impossible but that’s what the sign says.. as we got to the first speed hump, after travelling almost 11,000 kilometres this trip, we heard an almighty bang and the car went “weird” and I swore.. “What the F%$#@ was that?!” it scared me!!

Of all the shitty roads, all the pot holes and the dirty, dusty, sandy roads we’ve been on the trailer Matilda decides this is the time she will choose to “jump off the coupling” and go solo… and give me a heart attack! We were horrified that the trailer had fallen off the car, so we went through all the steps again, had we been too hasty, not connected her correctly, forgot the locking pin? what had we done wrong? and would this happen again? we knew that some of the roads on the way home are fairly lumpy so do we need to drive really slowly? So close to home and yet it felt like a thousand miles.

We reconnected her, and then took her off and then reconnected her again, triple checking all the steps, and then very gingerly set off again, we had two more speed humps to get over and each little noise had me looking worriedly in the side mirror waiting for her to “jump off” again. When we stopped for lunch at the local KFC, we checked her again and all the way home we listened for any weird noises. Then when we got home we checked her again, we cannot for the life of us figure out what happened there. But isn’t it ironic the day we say we’re going home she “jumps off” almost in protest, I wonder if Tilly knows her touring days after starting to wind down and she’s objecting.

Grand baby was excited to see us home, the animals were excited to see us home, the daughter less excited because she was supposed to have a date night that night and us coming home had ruined her plans, of course it didn’t we looked after our Sweetpea as though we’d never left!

My house is looking worse for wear, there were knee-high weeds in the garden and the wisteria has gone beserk, there are countless dirty hand prints on my walls and things are just not up to scratch but you know what? somehow just now I can’t care too much, I’m home and although part of me is happy, part of me is also thinking… “When can we go again?”

In the meantime I’ll work my way back into being Mum/ Grandma and Wife while I de-clutter, sort, discard and thoroughly scrub the house and dream about the Next Big Lap…

Wrap up coming tomorrow… but so far…

Kilometres done- 11,236

Average fuel used- 8 litres per 100 kilometres.

Yeah! I’m a nerd I like keeping track of stuff like that!





Big Lap WA 2015- Days 49- 53- Halls Gap Victoria. It’s almost over!!

Days 49- 53- Halls Gap Victoria, with the Grampians as our back drop… what more could you ask for?

Day 49- Friday 30th October 23015 –

Shall I rant or just calmly tell you about this place? I wanna rant so badly and yet, I can’t really because I loved it with my bestie and two of her three boys, we had a great weekend, we made the most of a stupid situation.

We arrived first and so we checked in and were told we had site 109 and Bestie and her family had 110.. Cool we would be neighbours.. so off we go and already I am thinking “sardines in a tin” it was already quite packed at 2.30pm. We found our site and almost could not believe our eyes at the size of it.. it was T-I-N-Y!!

It was about 5 meters wide ( 16 feet) by 8 meters long (about 25 feet long) we are camping in tents and so we are fairly flexible but Bestie and Mr Bestie were trialling their new camper van which was out for its first run.. tentatively named “Rhonda Runaway” now camper trailers have to be set up just so, you cannot just back it into a LONG thin site and hope it’ll work. We don’t have one but even we knew there would be trouble here.. so we didn’t do a full set up in case we needed to move things as they arrived. We have given this particular site the “Worst rating ever”

Bestie and her squad” arrived at about 8.00pm and since it was going to be dark soon we had to quickly work out how to make these sites work for us.. so we moved Star Son’s tent to the back of the second site and “Besties squad” took up the front of both sites.. it was tricky, but for the first night we made it work.

Saturday Morning…Day 50 (we’ve been travelling 50 days OMG!!) Halloween!

We decided to complain. when I saw “we” I meant Mr Bestie and the Bloke because I don’t complain I whine on my blog. Apparently there were suddenly a few spare spaces and we could move if we wanted to but then again, what if they were worse? Plus I don’t know about “Bestie” but I didn’t want to have to pack everything up just to move to a new site, so we said “Stuff it, let’s stay here” instead we moved our tent and Star Son’s tents over a bit more, which meant we were sideways on the site and we could have our awning up, which thankfully didn’t flap and blow around everywhere. “Besties Squad” set up across the front of the site and we set up their annex for some more shade… and the weather people said “thunder storms and torrential rain”ha!!

We made it work! we had a nice little square in the middle where we put our tables and chairs and then much later when the next door neighbours left we could spread out onto their site, we moved te fire pit into the central square!

Saturday was a nice casual day, sitting around chatting catching up on all the gossip. We walked over the shops and did the sight seeing things, and when the sun dropped a bit and it cooled down a little we did the first hike up the hill to “Venus Baths”

On the way back to camp we checked out the Botanical Garden and wandered around the camp ground, appreciating the wild roos that wandered through the park as though they owned the place. At 2.30am, we had a close encounter with one when I hear rustle rustle in the kitchen area of our camp, immediately I’m awake listening, then I hear a thump of something hitting the ground, so I quickly got up and rushed out.. I didn’t see the Roo but I saw my loaf of bread on the ground and where it had been rummaging through the chiller bag, so I brought them all into our tent. Next morning as I went to make toast I see the teeth marks in the opposite end of the bread bag!

Sunday 1st November 2015 – Day 51!

So today there is a local market which we girls wanted to visit (it was a disappointment) we also decided to drive up the Hill and visit some of the hiking trails and do some touristy sight-seeing. After struggling to find a park, because 64,000 other people had the same idea.. copy cats! We parked illegally and off we went. First stop was supposed to be “The Grand Canyon” well the path was closed one way so we went another way and it was blocked off there too… and by then Bestie and I were huffing and puffing like old steam trains ( I’ve really challenged my idea of my fitness levels this trip) so we decided to sit out the rest of the hike to “The Pinnacles” which was another 2.1 kilometres up and then the same back… we sat uncomfortably on the rocks and directed other people what track to take and wished them all good luck!! Mr Bestie with his eldest son and his youngest son and Star Son made the trek to the top, apparently the views were amazing, I was happy to sit and gossip with my Bestie.

After the hike we went into Stawell to find a supermarket, thinking this is Victoria surely something will be open!

Only Woolworths was open and so we went there and got supplies for some dinners before heading back to camp. On the way to camp we stopped at the local pub to peruse the menu and decided if we wanted to eat there, luckily none of us were fussy eaters and so we booked a table, but we couldn’t get in until 7.30pm… so afternoon tea was called for.. and a few drinks as well.

Dinner was so worth the wait I had chicken parma and every vegetable or salad thing I could find, I am so craving vegetables!

We got back to camp by 9.00pm and decided it was cool enough for a fire, so we sat around the camp fire chatting and playing the name game.. have you played it? The first person names a famous person, the next person must use the first letter of the first persons surname… for example I’ll say Marilyn Monroe, the Bloke will then have to think of an “M” name so he’ll say Maurice Gibb, so the next person has to pick someone with the name “G” the only rules are some one else HAS to know of that person! if we were playing with adults we would play it that you have 10 seconds to answer and if you can’t answer or you repeat a name already said you have to skull your drink… yes people it’s a drinking game! We use any famous person, and that could include authors, or singers, or sports or characters. On the Big Lap the Star Son and the Bloke and I used to play it with different things like “Fruit” if Star Son said banana, then The Bloke would have to think of an “A” fruit.. it gets you thinking and it’s a bit of fun.

Monday 2nd November 2015- Day 52

This morning we had a minor drama. The Bloke and Mr Bestie were talking about the coupling that holders the camper trailer to the car tow bar and the pin that slips into it to lock it into place and Mr Bestie went to get the pin to show the Bloke something.. and suddenly no one is quite sure where the pin is… so we all do a search which is hard because I didn’t take any notice of what it looked like on the set up night.. so I’m not really sure what I’m looking for… but it means that the camper trailer will NOT be locked onto the tow bar tomorrow if they don’t find it or get a replacement, so Mr Bestie starts making some calls and find a store in Stawell that sells them and so as a group we decide we’re off to Stawell. it’s about a 30 minutes drive, but at least we know today the shops will be open. So the men all head off one way and us Sheilas head off to see the shops. I brought myself a bamboo crochet hook and 5 balls of wool, just quietly I am going slightly mad not doing anything arty or crafty!!

After the shop saying “they had some” it turns out the guy on the phone didn’t even know what Mr Bestie was talking about so sells him two other options, and in the middle of the road we discuss “Will these fit?” right away one is too small and the other one while it might “just fit” what if it slipped off or worse? so Mr Bestie took them back to get his money back and we decided to go to the next town which was Horsham and have a look there.. more shops, more sightseeing and definitely camping stores and caravan stores. Anyways the guy comes out with a bigger locking pin and decides this one will fit for sure so that saved us another trip…. back at camp we lit the fire earlier to get some coals so we could make baked potatoes and the boys the young ones not the Blokes wanted to roast marshmallows. Then the weather turned cold.. and miserable and we even had a few spots  of rain BUT not the thunderstorms and torrential rain that was first predicted. We packed it in early we were all in our beds by 10 pm and I read my book until much later.

Tuesday 3rd November 2015- Melbourne Cup Day.

Ok, so if you are from overseas you may not know what “Melbourne Cup Day” is and why it’s a public holiday. Melbourne cup is the greatest horse racing event of Australia and it is literally the “Race that stops the nation” people in all states of Australia have either a BBQ or a party or take the day off work, people fly into Melbourne to attend the Cup, it’s world-famous, this year it had horses from Ireland and America and Japan racing in it. It’s a really good excuse to spend a lot of money on clothing and you MUST wear a hat ladies, so people spend stupid amounts of money to go there and dress up and get rip-roaring drunk, some might make some money but most lose their money, and their shoes and various other items of clothing and most definitely their dignity. I went once! Each year we watch the race on TV if we are not camping and we have guesses who will win.

So this morning was pack up day for us happy campers both families agreeing “We Will NEVER come back here again!” we might go back to Halls Gap but a different caravan park! We were all packed up in the cars ready to go by 9.45am which is some kind of record but I think we all had the same thing, people will be heading home the roads will be chaos. Well, we are still trying to add black lines to the map of Victoria, so we were taking every kind of back road we could find and we were back at St. Leonards by 1.00pm. In time to unpack, settle in and watch the Big Race at 3.10pm.

I’m funny about picking horses.. If I like the name or the colour or the pattern on the jockey’s riding top I’ll pick it. Unless we are in a group situation as in a BBQ or something we never bet money on the race, the Bloke and I both agree, we work too hard to get money to throw it away… BUT this year I so wish I’d put money down.. I picked three horses, to come first, second and third,  I picked “Gust of wind” because A- it was a girl horse, B- it was owned by a lady and C- she was the only girl horse! Then I chose “The United States” because I have a passion for anything American! funny the horse wasn’t from America or owned by Americans or anything. Next on the spur of the moment, I went for “Prince of Penzance” remember that movie from the 80’s with Christopher Atkins as the sexy Pirate.. I think it was a musical back then, but the thing about this horse that got me was it was ridden by the first female Jockey to ride in this particular race, “The Melbourne Cup” plus I’d heard of her before when she was younger she was thrown from a horse and cracked her vertebrae and they thought she might never walk again.. or something like that, anyways her name was familiar so I threw her in. And because we don’t bet for money, I didn’t look at the odds..

Michelle Payne became the first women in the world to ride the winning horse for the Melbourne cup and it was a 100/1 odds… OH MY GOSH, if I had put the rare $5.00 that I have previously I’d be rich!! I cried, because she made such a great speech about how it’s a male chauvinist sport and how other Blokes had tried to stop her from racing but the owners had stuck by her and now she said “they can get stuffed, coz we won!” Yay Michelle… Girl power!!

It was a great way to end a great weekend. Now we are planning more camping trips to take. But for now, a few days at Bel Far Niente before heading home to “the real world”

In my real bed that night, after having a shower and being all clean I thought back over the trip and the post I would write when it was all finished a final wrap up so to speak! The Best, the worst, the never to be repeated and the must go back and do again things.. coming soon to a page near you!!


Big Lap WA 2015- Day 44- Lake Lascelles Victoria

I’m wearing down friends..

I’m tired, I’ve had enough of these Blokes and the closer I get the more I want to “just go home” Short drive today, we couldn’t decide where to go spoilt for choices, as long as we stayed inland.. because the coast is going to be wet windy and miserable.

So we headed in the general direction of “Jeparit” the Bloke made some calls yesterday about different areas we “thought“we might like to visit for example the Pink Lakes at The Murray Sunset National Park, which would be another night of no power and no showers, but I’m up for the challenge, at least I was till the voice on the other end of the phone said “There’s no water in the Lake” the same we found out for “Lake Albacutya” and then again for “Lake Hindmarsh“… these are small out of the way places that are names on the Map of Victoria and if we do anything for the rest of this trip we want to add more black lines to the Map of Victoria. So we drove on and we would figure it out as we went.

First stop was Ouyen let me tell you this… NOTHING is open on Sundays.. I feel so like we are back in the 70’s.. they were not helpful at all in the Bakery, so we kept on going.. One of the places on the map that sounded funky was “Patchewollock” repeat that a few times it sounded fun, so when we saw the turn off we detoured to “Patche” as the locals call it.. I have NEVER been more disappointed in my life… ok, I probably have but I was devastated.. there was nothing there. it resembled a ghost town.. OK… there “used” to be a Service staion there, which had burnt down and was now a gravel space with a solitary single charred petrol pump behind a chain link fence. There was a shop of sorts, with a sign that listed “bakery, milkbar, post office and general store” REALLY?! we didn’t even bother we turned Heidi and Tilly around and went back the way we came… “blink town” if you Blink you’ll miss it…

The map showed a Lake with free camping in a town called “Hopetoun” so we decided we’d stop there for lunch and check it out and see how we felt, we had no better offers… One pub in the town was boarded up, everything else was locked tightly up, but there was some kind of speed boat racing thingy on at Lake Lascelles and so we went to look, only to realise that it was where the “free camping” was. On one side of the sign you camped for free, on the other side you had power and a toilet for something like $15.00 per night.. hmmm… we drove around the lake picked out a good “spot”and decided that this would be “home” for tonight…we then decided to go into “town” and find some lunch… there was “one café” and I reckon most of the town were in there, so I stayed in the car and trusted the men to buy me a “pie” well, I don’t know what they were thinking but really? cheese in a pie.. it was not a good combo, but I was hungry I ate it..

So it’s been one of those hot, grey and over cast days, which I kind of don’t mind, because it’s not so hot when the sun stays away.. but then as we decided to set up the tent, out came the sun, up went the temperature and hello flies!!!

The place where we were camping was on sand, so the tent pegs were not going to stay in very well… to be frankly honest with you I hated the place on site, but then I thought I was having a “spoilt little brat” moment so I bit my tongue and set up camp. Then as the afternoon rolled on the wind started, you’ve read previous posts about the wind while camping, it’s not a good mix. Then about 6.00pm the sky grew dark and the rain started first it was big fat juicy drops, that splashed up on the sandy ground and dried quickly.. then the thunder started and the lightening and I’m muttering under my breath about being in the wild! (at least in a camp ground you have a camper kitchen to run and hide in when it thunders)

Before bed that night we removed the annex/ tarp because we feared we might fly away. The wind whipped up waves in the previously pretty little lake and the temperature dropped until we were cold! so by 9.30pm we were in bed with lights out, trying to go to sleep and wondering if we would still be in the same place in the morning, It was the longest night in the history of nights. The wind howled and bellowed ALL NIGHT long and by the time it was light enough to see I was growling at the Bloke “How long did YOU say we had to stay here?!!” he got up, looked around, saw the wind was too strong to even light the stove to boil the kettle and said “Let’s get out of here now!” So by 8.30am we had packed up 3/4’s of the camp and woken Star Son who had slept through it ALL and said “We are LEAVING NOW!”

Where to go next? we pulled over on the side of the road found some internet access and decided that we were about 2.5 hours away from our holiday place which is an onsite Caravan called “Bel Far Niente”  with an enclosed annex and a toilet and access to a shower and heating and safety.. we said “Let’s go to our other “home” and off we went.

And here we are again…

Yep! We are back at Bel Far Niente! Unusual for two times in one month in winter no less. “What about football?”  I hear you ask… Well let me tell you a tale..

For over a week Star Son has been coughing, you might recall he has “whooping cough” about 10 weeks ago that started and he was diagnosed just as he was no long contagious, the same time that The Bloke and Grandson Squishy were told the news, so that resulted in us all going on “preventative” antiobiotics to stop the contagion. But did you know that “whooping cough” is also known as the “100 days cough” so we kind of let it go for a while Star son’s cough, until he woke us up at 4:00am telling us he couldnt sleep he was coughing and his chest hurt. That was Friday morning and since The Bloke had a rostered day off work, we made an appointment and took him to the Dr. Where we were told that since he’s had the whooping cough, his immune system is weakend and so he’s likely to get “secondary infections” which is what has happened, he now has brochitis and so another round of anti biotics, an asthma puffer and some advil for the pain. Then a very important question..

Dr… “Do you play any sport?”

Star son- “Yes I play Football on Sunday”

DR..” Absolutely NOT this week”

Well I knew there was going to be an arguement, I have been trying to tell the men of the family this for the past two weeks, its cold, its wet and he’s sick, says Mum “He’ll get pneumonia”  they laughed at me and off they went until Friday… When the DR says “If you push yourself and breathe in the cold air and get wet and chilled you will possibly develop Pneumonia” I tell ya friends.. I could have done the happy dance, several reasons..

A- I was NOT being neurotic and over protective, I was actually right


On the way to the chemist the men of the family discussed him going to Football and I grew angrier and angrier and finally I asked.. “Why did we bother going to the DR if you are going to ignore him? He said NO football and I am putting my foot down NO FOOTBALL, I am not sitting in hospital while you struggle with pneumonia which might have been avoided by missing ONE week of football”

I won!

So here we are at our holiday place, Star Son has spent the whole time laying snuggled up on the couch, eating, keeping hydrated and taking his medicine and I have been catching up on mail, my reading and my bible study.

I love Bel Far Niente, its been cold and today was more rain than not, but who cares we were being indoors and lazy anyways. I got five letters written, I started a new book, I caught up on two days bible study, because it only started back on Monday and I have not gotten back into my routine yet. We are reading the book of Proverbs!

Hear that? Its the sound of serenity, I love that sound.

S is for…..


This fun challenge is brought to you by

Today is the letter “S


So most of the family has been introduced, you’ve probably met more than I have!! And enough is enough.. so today we’ll do something different… today we are venturing to our holiday place “St Leonards” to go snorkeling under the pier..

So grab your snorkel.. you’ll need a wet-suit it’s cold there and your towel for when we get out.

From Wikipedia.. 

St Leonards is a coastal township near Geelong, Victoria, Australia, at the eastern end of the Bellarine Peninsula and the northern end of Swan Bay. Situated 33 kilometres (21 mi) east of Geelong, St Leonards was a filming location for the Australian television series SeaChange.

The town is surrounded by salt marsh wildlife reserves which provide habitat for hundreds of birds, including the critically endangered Orange-bellied Parrot of which there are less than 200 in the wild. Salt marshes are one of the most biologically productive habitats on the planet, rivalling tropical rainforests. The official motto for St Leonards is “Where everyday is Sunday”

You can also read this earlier post:

Now I can hear you asking “What has this to do with family?” that’s easy!!

Bel Far Niente as we call the holiday places explained in the above post! was originally purchased by my In law’s, My Parent’s in law and their daughter my Sister-in-law jointly brought the property and my father-n-law Jock and Mother-in-law Tanny and Leigh their daughter spent a lot of time fixing up the place, replacing walls and recovering seating and new curtains etc etc and they would take it in turns to go away and spend weekends there.

One weekend when no one was there Rob’s Mum suggested we go and stay so we did and we loved it so much, we considered buying a place there but at that time we also had a car payment and a house mortgage so we held off. When my father-in-law Jock died, his wife Tanny decided that she wouldn’t go back down there without Jock what fun would it be? and Leigh’s children were kind of over the whole weekends away thing and so she decided to sell her potion and so we sold the other car and put that down as deposit on “the Van” and were able to pay Tanny off the remaining money as we could. So suddenly we had a “weekender” and the first thing we did was name it “Bel Far Niente” we have spent many good times down there, I’ve had four children down there at once, I’ve had no children down there. Usually on school holidays Star Son and I spend at least a week down there and most of the summer holidays we go back and forth between home and St. Leonards.

It’s our quiet place so days we do nothing but read or write letters. Some days we’ll be out and about walking or playing at the beach across the road. We’ve had people over for lunches and dinners, and picnics, I even had a few Red Hatters events there when I was the Queen of our chapter. We love our holiday places it’s not fancy but it’s homely and we love it. Now that Star Son has football we considered selling it and staying home and saving that yearly fee, but then we think, “we will miss our little piece of serenity” and we are not quite ready to give that up yet!

When we decided to do out first “Big Lap” of Australia, we planned to go to the Great Barrier Reef, I’d never been before but the Bloke had and so he said to me “you need to learn to snorkel” background info on me.. I hate water!! When I was small I got knocked over my a surfboard at the beach and have hated waters that I can’t touch the bottom of.. ever since.

Once I went on a dolphin Swim with my cousin, and I had a mask that didn’t fit and so water kept flooding into my mask which made me splutter and panic, and they kicked me out of the water saying I was scaring the dolphins away… ho cared I was drowning!! I hated every moment of it and the water was bloody deep, I would not let go of that rope!! I didn’t even bother later on in the day swimming with the seals.. never again!

But I trust my husband in all things and I trust he wont let me drown, just like he wouldn’t let me get hurt riding the motorbike.. same reason.. he didn’t want to be left with five children!! So I became his student and did everything e told me, he taught me and a 9-year-old Star Son at the same time. I will never forget the first time Star Son and I both went out with Rob and saw our first fish, we looked at each other and at the same time tried to say “wow! did you see that?” and of course snorkeling and talking doesn’t work, so we both ended up coughing spluttering and splashing around, laughing and spitting out salty water… it’s hard not to talk!!

here is one of the beauties we saw when we snorkeled in Rarotonga in the Cook Islands.

Snorkeling selfies even before we knew it was cool to do selfies.. I was trying to work out if the underwater camera was working.

giant angel fish!!

this little guy scared me half to death! Rob thought it was hilarious when i took off thinking he was coming to eat me.. puffer fish!

9 yr old Star Son picked it up quickly..

The Bloke and I snorkeling Selfies.

Old Ship wreck the “Lochart” in Indented Heads (not far from St Leonards) 

Since we mastered St. Leonards we took our snorkeling gear with us to Rarotonga and saw some beautiful fish and coral, and some coral eating fish the noise they made crunching the coral was so loud!!

Then it was our Big Lap to Queensland and the world-famous Great Barrier reef, I had hoped and prayed to swim with a turtle, we saw some but not in the water near us… however we did swim with a Black tipped Reef shark, and all I could think of was the theme song of “Jaws” as soon as Star Son was out of the water I asked the Bloke “Was that a shark?” and he said “yeah it was” I freaked out but apparently Black tipped reef sharks are not harmless to people which is why it swam with us.. I was so horrified I didn’t even get a photo.

Sea Urchin, St Leonards Summer 2012

Red Seaweed at Indented Heads Dec 2011

Under the sea.. snorkeling with these pretty sea plants, too pretty to be called sea “weeds”