We left home for a three week pre surgery trip. We went to New South Wales.
Along the way Covid happened and our state got locked down and my husband’s surgery got cancelled and so the nurse called and asked “Are you in a new caravan park?!” We we’re in Batemans Bay by then on our way home. We told her “Yes it’s quite nice” she said “Well stay there your surgery has been cancelled” my husband quickly said “No thanks we’ll go north to the warm”
Our initial goal was Gladstone to meet my penpal and her family it’s been 10 years between visits, but the higher we got the more we enjoyed the warm weather and so by the time we got to Cairns my husband made the call.. “We’re going to the Tip!”
Cape York Peninsula or “The Tip” as it is commonly called is the most northern Point in mainland Australia and we are 459 kilometres from there. We’re slowly wending our way North to have that iconic photo.
Yesterday we made it to Weipa 3,600 plus kilometres from home and it was lush and tropical and hot! 32c while back at home they’re struggling for 11c and it really occurred to me as we ate an enormous hamburger washed down with icy cold beers and watched the most awesome sunset, that this right here! Is where my life has been leading.
We’ve done the jobs and the scrimping and saving and brought houses and cars and campers and STUFF, we’ve raised five children into well functioning adults who have beautiful children of their own, except the youngest one so far! And now I’m a modern day gypsy, an end goal but each day comes as it will. We get up we think about what we might do we have no hard or fast plans. For three days we sat by the Coen river and fed the little fish cheese because they liked it and we didn’t need to be anywhere or do anything!
We watch the sun set and very occasionally we might see it rise, but if sleep has us in her grips we stay there. One thing is certain in this life… there WILL be another sunrise and sunset!
Right now we are in Weipa by the Gulf of Carpentaria in Far North Queensland. Our first sunset here was amazing it went on forever and frankly l can’t wait for tonight’s!
And so as l look forward to the next half of my life (I’m not middle aged yet!) l’ve decided that this right here… this gypsy life of not knowing and no plans works just well for me and l will NEVER DO WINTER AGAIN!!
Monday we brought home our precious bundle! and her Aunty and cousins came over for a visit. Then later on another Aunty came to visit.
Tuesday we managed a nice quiet day at home, walking the dog was that days greatest effort
On Wednesday l spent the morning watching Aria and Harvey, at the same time my husband had his pre op assessment for his hip replacement in June, and later on Wednesday the midwife Ash, who delivered her came for her first at home check up and she had gained 80 grams back from the 100 grans she’d lost at birth. So that was exciting news.
Thursday my Bloke took me on a date day into Melbourne we caught the train and a tram, he spoilt me with a walk through the laneways full of Art! And then took me to an exhibition called “She oaks and sunlight” Australian impressionist at the National Gallery of Victoria, l hadn’t been there yet so that was a lovely surprise! After the gallery we walked along South Bank and ended up at Crown Casino for Chinese lunch. Then some more art down alleyways. With a stop at Young and Jackson’s Pub, famous in Melbourne. Had a beer and a cider in the roof top bar, checked out the famous art the nude- Chloe on display in the lounge! We ended up walking 17 kms during the day! My poor feet!
Friday- Violet is one week old, sheesh, where did that week go??!
Today we went to Castlemaine to visit our eldest son Kit and grandom Rafiki who is not feeling very well, but he was happy to see us! The best bit about Autumn is the coloured leaves and so we enjoyed those around Castlemaine. I got a few blog posts done this week and maintained my weeks worth of art for #bloomingmarvellousmay it’s been a week and frankly lm tired!
Today l had one job, to watch Aria and Harvey while my daughter Jasmin went to school to help on Chase’s schools Mother’s Day Stall. The Bloke had a pre op appointment before he gets his hip replacement in June so he dropped me at Jasmin’s house at 8:00am.
I had one job to watch these small people while Jasmin went to school with Chase for a few hours. Put Harvey down for his nap at 11:00am and that was all- easy really.
So we did our usual cuddles and watching their shows, each had a favourite show for me to watch and then we decided to do silly photos!
So Harvey wanted to get into the spirit because we were laughing he wanted to play the clown and so up onto the coffee table and he was dancing.
Before l even had time to tell him to get down he fell! Straight into the window, l’ve never run so fast or scaled a coffee table so quickly as l did today. Telling him “Stay still Harvey!” He was so good he just stayed still till l could make sure he wasn’t injured and oh my gosh hugged his little being till l almost crushed him!
All he was worried about was his Mummy would be mad! But l reassured him “Mummy will only be mad at Grandma not Harvey!” l checked him over so thoroughly and made sure he was all in one piece, then l issued Aria orders.. “Where does Mummy keep the vacuum cleaner? Watch the kitten doesn’t go bear the glass, stay over there right away” She was so good showing me where the vacuum was and then showing me how to work it 🤷🏼♀️ in the meantime she’s reassuring Harvey “It’s ok Harvey you’re not in trouble” turned my back for a second the kittens trying to get through the hole, luckily Dookie the dog was on the other side keeping her in. For about 10 minutes it was bedlam! And Jasmin had been gone less than an hour!!
My “Clown boy” suddenly became Grandma’s cuddle bunny. Aria was keeping watch on the clock to make sure Harvey was on time for his nap, she had a vested interest she could have her iPad time when he went to bed.
As he snuggled down he asked for his Mummy l said “When you wake up Mummy will be home” he nodded and said “Mummy mad!” No l told him not with my Harvey boy, kissed him and told him “I love you” he grins “Luff you too”
As l made coffee and lunch for Aria it hit me just how badly that might have ended and l told myself “You had just one job!” And l’d messed it up! I also thanked my Soul Sister in spirit for catching him and not letting him be damaged. Luckily my Bloke got home and patched the hole with some MDF panels until we can get a glazier in but then l had to break the news to Jasmin, and pray she wouldn’t yell too loudly!
As soon as Jasmin got home l explained and thankfully none of us got into trouble but l will pay for the glass because they’ve only been in their new home two months and l’ve already let a window get broken!! “You had one job Grandma!”
On other subjects… Baby Violet had her home visit from the midwifery team today and it was Ash who delivered her. When Vi was released from hospital she’d lost 100 grams that was Monday, today is Wednesday and she’s up 80 grams! Yay Violet!! She’s a good baby so far!
My renewed creativity is going well and this months art prompt is “blooming marvellous May,” each day of the month you do a floral piece. I did Violet first so l decided to do each of my seven grandchildren, Chase wasn’t a flower so l did his name and added some Climbing Jasmine to his letter C! Today ironically was Harvey’s day, no flowers or plants called Harvey, so l wrote his name and gave him a floral hibiscus border!!
I wonder if l’ll be invited back to baby sit again!
For some of us it’s a sad week because we lost a loved one, my Soul Sister is on the other side with her spirit guide a blue heron! And l cried a lot that day, just all of a sudden a tear would fall, then that night at 7:46pm loads of tears fell and l thanked my Soul Sister for helping Violet enter the world safely. I haven’t cried at any other birth but l kept thinking about what was told to me when my Dad died “One soul leaves the world one soul enters” and back then l didn’t appreciate it but l’ve read ALOT since then and so l start off this new week minus my friend but with this precious little girl.
I’ve been busy documenting her life, photos with her Mum, photos with her Dad, amazing beautiful photos of her with her big sister, with Grandpa and Uncle Will, with Aunty Jasmin and Aunty Bree, with all her Sunbury Cousins. None with Grandma. But Grandma kept a detailed journal listing about everything because Grandma is the keeper of our stories.
Welcoming a new life means decluttering and cleaning and making things perfect. So this morning the Bloke and l re arranged the living room added a cradle, made half Scarlett’s “Home school desk” a change table and added subdued light. Swept away cobwebs and floors and mopped, scrubbed and cleaned and organised until Amber rang and said “We can come home!”
I brought a box of chocolates and a cream cake for the midwifery team l told them “Afternoon tea is on us!” and wrote them a card thanking them for their care of not only Amber and Violet but of me too! I know it’s their job but I imagine it’s not always pleasant. I wanted them to know we appreciated their care and support. Violet was my fifth Grandchild born there, l couldn’t imagine now going to a different hospital.
At home Grandpa gave her the first feed, he’s always been hands on with the Grandchildren. We walked to school to pick up Scarlett who almost burst out of her skin to see her Mum and Baby Sister there! She showed Violet off to all the children and her teacher!
After school Jasmin came with Chase, Aria and Harvey who all had a cuddle of her. Then “Big Unca” Will, came home and immediately took charge and he fed her the next bottle. I managed to get some of her bath done! And the bottles washed! Next feed went to Aunty Bree who came to meet Violet and so more photos and still none with Grandma!
This week is going to be hectic. I just need to go camping!
Today my letter “V” arrived! How clever was she to be born on her due date. April 30th 2021. Weighing in at a good 8 pound 8 oz, head circumference 35.5 cms and a long 53 cms.
My daughter Amber was doing some family tree research during Covid lockdown and realised my Maternal Grandmother was named Violet Jane and her daughter, my Mother was named Eileen Avonia. So she took Violet and Avonia and created this bundle of joy!!
We got to the hospital for a check up this morning at about 10:40am and up to delivery at 12:00pm. At 6:00pm she was 4 cms dilated and so they gave her some morphine at 6:50pm she was pushing and then at 7:46pm Violet was born. The last bit sped up really quickly.
I can’t help but think that my beautiful Soul Sister was watching over us as Violet came into the world. From tears of sadness to tears of joy as l cut this little ones cord. Some one once told when one soul leaves the world another enters!
Now it’s 3:00am and Amber and l have tried to sleep but l think adrenaline has kicked in so we stare at this new little being who has joined our family and thank Jehovah for how healthy she is.
Now you REALLY have met my whole family! Five children, in laws, Cousin, Husband and seven Grandchildren!
We don’t normally bother, so no gifts exchanged but this year we’re camping wild in Tasmania so The Bloke used that as an excuse to book us a table at the Bayside Bistro pub in St Helens for lunch.
Before lunch we did some exploring on the other side of the bay where we were able to get out and walk along the breakwater wall.
We realised today that this is our 21st Valentine’s Day together but our first with no children involved. Just us, it was nice.
Pub for lunch l chose Roast Lamb because when we’ve been camping a while l miss the vegetables
When The Bloke and l first met online, we were both single parents and it turned out he worked not far from my house so one random day he called and said “I’m going past your street on my way to another company for a meeting can l stop in?” I nervously said “Yes” my cousin was over anyways so it was all good. He pulled up in his business shirt and tie with a box of mint slice chocolates and a chocolate mud muffin he had made. That first meeting was maybe 10 minutes and he was going away soon on Christmas holidays with his son. So l thought, that is that!
New Year’s Eve the phone rings and it’s him telling me he’s camping on a hill in Queensland and just wanted to say Happy New Year and maybe when he gets back to work we can go out for coffee. So l agreed.
Mid January 2001- comes and he calls saying “I’m working Saturday morning, how about l pick you up for coffee and home made mud muffins?” I agreed.
And that my friends is that… at first we were friends only and so different, like chalk and cheese! He’s a business man with a shirt and tie and a company car and he lives in the country. I mean l didn’t even know where Sunbury was!! And l was just me a single parent of three young children who’d want me?! I remember l told my cousin “Oh we’re just friends it won’t last six months”
But The Bloke- because underneath the business clothes and company car, he was “just a Bloke who likes rock n roll music and the Phantom and beer” he had a son and a black Labrador called Blue and he showed me new sides to life. I didn’t know there was this whole Rock n Roll/ Rockabilly life style going on in Melbourne not even far from where l lived. When he said “Rock n Roll” l said “Oh Elvis?!” But oh my girl there’s so much more..
Suddenly l was listening to HIS music, he grudgingly listened to my country and we met in the middle with Rockabilly. Soon he had taught me some dance moves and before long we were going to Rock n Roll dances and seeing bands and where had l been all my life?!
Then in April of 2001 l got really sick and ended up over the Easter weekend in hospital with gall stones and needing surgery, he rang me, he visited, and he went to that dance withOUT me! But as a consolation prize he brought me a signed poster into my hospital room!
It was soon after, that we realised “oops we were expecting” so not planned and not part of the “It’ll only last six months” deal.
We welcomed our “Rockabilly baby” on January 23 2002 born into the world to the Janis Martin song “Billy Boy” l sent Janis Martin an email just before she passed away and told her about our Star Son William John named “Billy” and her Grand daughter replied and said “My Grandmother was over the moon to hear from you” so l sent her back a photo of our Rockabilly Boy. The Grand daughter printed out the photo and took it into the hospital to give to Janis Martin.
When Star Son was Six months old, the Bloke decided that having five children wasn’t enough and that l needed something else to do, so he put MY hand up as Secretary and Treasurer of the local Rock n Roll Appreciation, but fair enough because he was named President. So our lives got busier!
Writing a monthly column each, mailing off magazines all over the world and generally having a blast, bands would send us CD’s in the mail and we’d do reviews and write articles. My favourite one l wrote was on Chuck Hughes and the Hillbilly Hellcats! This also meant that we went to a LOT of dances almost every week, we’d be there with the five children and dance the night away. Star Son almost got kidnapped by Texan Rockabilly singer Marti Brom who fell in love with him and wanted him as a souvenir!!
I remember one show we went to l was doing a review on this concert and so l was in this pack of “Grandmothers” all going crazy for this guy l’d never heard of, The Bloke had played me a few of his songs before hand but l’d still never heard of him, so lm innocently snapping away photos and this lady asks me “What are you doing?” I replied l was writing an article on Merv Benton and so l was taking photos she continued to watch me and every so often she would say “Oooh that’s a goodie!”
Finally she says “ Come with me!!” And she drags me to the front of the stage so now l’ve got a super clear view of not only Merv but also the screaming wild crowd of Grandmas! It turned out to be a great night and we got back stage passes and went back to meet Merv, he asked me “Did you get any good pics?” I nodded dumbly. I got the idea to do a “Then and Now” article we had an article of his last tour and so l contacted his agent and asked if l could speak to Merv in regards to the article. I must confess by now l too was smitten with Merv Benton! He was big in the 60’s in Australia and then he moved to America where he lives now in Arizona. Anyways long story short, he called me a week or so later and we talked for two hours and he came up to our radio program and did an on air interview. He still calls me occasionally!
Radio programs was another thing the Bloke convinced me we needed to do so once a month we went into the city to do a show called “Shake, Rattle and Roll” for the Rock n Roll club and then we decided to approach our local radio show and host one there, we called that one “Shake, Rattle and Roll” too but when we eventually gave up being involved with the rock n roll club and magazine we changed our radio show to “Rock Therapy”
When The Bloke turned 50 l made him have a party, that was one of the things l brought into this partnership Parties!! And convinced him it was time for him to start enjoying himself some more and so he brought himself a 1969 Triumph Trophy and l had to learn to love it or miss out! One particularly hairy ride we met one of his friends a huge bear of a man who took me aside and said in his deep booming voice “ Now listen here! It doesn’t matter how much he loves you he loves that bike more! So he’s not going to do anything to hurt the bike, if he leans, you lean, just hold on and relax” I nodded that made sense and then he added “Besides love! He doesn’t want to be stuck with five kids!” 🤪
And he we are twenty one St Valentine’s days later, it’s been a wild ride, ups, downs and a very bumpy ride, l’ve brought the “Business man” down a level and l’ve certainly climbed up about three levels to meet him in a comfy place.
At the end of this month we celebrate our 17th Wedding Anniversary, we have a 19 year old son over 6 foot tall. It’s The Blokes 65 birthday AND his first Anniversary of Retired life.
Yes Bloke it’s been a wild ride, but l wouldn’t do it with anyone else!
Ok we are camping in Tasmania now. We made it on our long awaited trip and as we boarded the ship we got a text saying due to a Covid out break our check in pass had been canceled and we had to reapply while on the ship before we could get off 😬 So we reapplied of course!
The latest out break is actually in our neighbourhood but thankfully we have a large family and had spent time with them all prior to boarding the ship- so Thursday we spent all day with our Star Son at hospital appointments. All safe there!
Friday we had spent half a day with our eldest son and Grandson in the country at Castlemaine, so all good there.
Saturday our daughter in law and grandson came down to visit so my eldest daughter and her three children came over and we all walked to the end of the court and went to the park to play, so all good there and then finally Sunday we spent all day at home and we walked the dog, prepping for our trip, so all good there!
I thanked my D-I-L for visiting us because otherwise it’s probable that we WOULD have gone to that shopping centre and possibly have been exposed to the virus hence ruining our trip! Instead here we are in Tasmania enjoying everything it has to offer!
Monday we were on the ship at 7.00am and we opted for the day sailing with no cabin so that we could save money, we prefer to spend it here. We had breakfast and then walked around the ship- masks were required until you were out on deck, it was chilly and grey we didn’t stay out there long. We read our books in the lounge on level 9 and at 12:30pm we went to see a movie “Rams” an Australian comedy. Then we had a casual lunch, wrote in my journal and read our books. Ship docked in Tasmania at 6:00pm but we were in the exit line for an hour and forty minutes, each person had to be temperature checked and processed, and my Bloke has NOT got a patient bone in his body! Finally we drove six minutes down the road, where we had pre-booked an overnight cabin to stay in. So we went out and found a KFC and got dinner, shower and bed, exhausted 😴
Tuesday dawned fine and sunny so we quickly popped down to the supermarket to buy our fruit and vegetables and bread, you cannot take any of that stuff interstate with you, they check before you get on board! We knew that so we don’t bring any. By 10am we were on the road to start our six week trip.
We got to our first spot called South Croppies Point about lunchtime. I was nervous because a review l read said “4Wheel Drives only” yes we have a 4WD BUT that doesn’t mean l want to use it lol when we got to a particularly sandy churned up piece of track l suggested the Bloke let me out for this bit and l walked.. l mean Fitbit says l should do 250 steps an hour anyways so lm just getting my steps! The Bloke found us the spot and l very nervously watched him back in the camper, l really should give him more credit he’s never failed us yet!!
So we stayed there two nights we would have stayed longer but bad weather was coming and you know that churned up sandy track?! Yeah well l didn’t fancy being bogged in that.
Thursday we moved to a little seaside town about an hour and a half away called St Helens. We’ve been here before to the same caravan park simply because we are allergic to bad weather! So we booked a cabin, brought pizza, did some laundry, had a shower and a reasonably good night sleep.
Today we awoke to bright sunshine and blue sky, there was a lot of rain and heavy winds overnight so we made the right call there. Today we moved to Doras Point it’s a free camp, no direct water views or water access but we can hear it and we have a lovely serenade of frogs! Today the weather has been stunning and we’ve been out and about exploring. We’ll stay here until Monday and then move on.
Ahh my favourite subject. I love books l could talk about books all day.
My love of books began at a young age. My Father was one of those parents who lead by example he “always had his head in a book” as the Mother would loudly complain!
Now l look back l wonder was he using his reading to escape from us- his family? Did he read so much to clear his head after a day of hard physical labour? he was a Bricklayer, that’s hard work. But he also read to learn things like how to make mud bricks and sustainable living so that he was able to build his own mud brick home.
When l was about ten or eleven years old a library opened in our town. Dad had watched them building it and so we were in there when it first opened in line to get our library cards. I was too young for my own so Dad would borrow on his card. On that first day everything was new and fresh and shining. Dad asked the Librarian where to find the books for his “Baby Doll” she lead us to the Children’s section.
Dad went off to find his own books and returned to help me choose some books. A week later we were on a drive somewhere and l was reading my book there was a very sad part and l had tears streaming down my face, Dad happened to look over and was alarmed at my tears asking “What’s wrong?!” I told him l was reading a sad bit, he asked about it, l told him about my book about the character Poll and what was happening to her. We chatted for ages about my book and then at the end of the book he decided that he should read it too. I recently re-read that book “The Peppermint Pig” by Nina Bawden for a reading challenge with Dymock’s Book Stores. It was under the listing of “A book that makes you nostalgic” and yes! I cried again!
It began a tradition each Saturday morning we would go off to the library and spend an hour or more there borrowing books we learnt our way around all the sections and learnt to use the microfiche and Dad would encourage me to look at other sections of the library, encourage me to read from the adult section.
Once l had a school project to do on the Book “Storm Boy” l wanted to focus my project on the Pelican, so Dad was home it was a raining day no work, he says “Let’s go to the library and find some stuff” off we went we borrowed library books photo copied pages, a drawing book on birds, whatever we needed and back home we went to do “our project”
Each day we would work on this project and Dad did the final spell check and suggested some tweaks. I was so proud to bring that school project home with a giant A+ in red ink on the front cover to share with my Dad!
As l grew older my reading habits changed but the one thing that never changed was my love of books and reading. When l was a young teenager l saw Gone with the Wind on TV it was so long l missed the end of it but l was talking to Dad about it and he said again “Let’s go borrow it from the library” we both read it, and discussed it and this became a reoccurring theme, either of us would borrow a book discuss it with the other and most times swap it. Dad really opened my reading choices!
Many a time he would tell the Librarian “l need to re-borrow this please my Dolly hasn’t read it yet!”
We were never lost for gifts to buy Dad a book here, a book there, usually something he couldn’t find at the library.
I miss being able to share books with my Dad. Luckily l have a husband who is a reader and so he quite often says “I reckon you’d like this one Sheila!” And quite often l’d take him up on that challenge which has lead me to try new authors and genres.
We were trying to return some books to the library just before the pandemic struck and l started reading the first page of one of his books “The Great Zoo of China” by Matthew Reilly an Aussie author. It’s about dragons how good could it be? But let me tell you l re-borrowed that book and read it quickly! Which in turn lead me to discover Matthew Reilly writes in an easy to read way that l liked! I’m working my way through all his books!
In 2007 l did a challenge with some one on Instagram “The Year of reading Australian Authors” unfortunately l forgot to stop which means l have a bookshelf full of books which are written by Australian authors and honestly l love reading about places we might have been camping to or places l want to go to!
Last year l read 85 books because during lockdown l struggled with my emotions so l chose to escape in a book. I laughed and cried with characters, I saved the President of USA with “Scarecrow and the USM”. I travelled all over the place all from the comfort of my bedroom! This year lm aiming for 90 books and this morning l started book number 12. Turns out this author is from Melbourne like me!! This is her first novel AND the book has a red spine. I just ticked off three different reading challenges criteria- winning!
My Dad once told me “Always bring a book with you because if you have a book you have a friend” l wonder if perhaps my Dad was lonely. Maybe he didn’t have anyone to share his love of reading with except me. Mother was not a reader and would get cranky with us she always used to complain “always got your heads stuck in a book” in the end she decided if she couldn’t beat us she’d join us. She read a book slowly, not as many as us and she never really loved it or discussed it, we never shared books with her. I wonder if she felt left out.
My Children are not book lovers, not one of them, and it’s NOT from lack of a good role model they’ve watched me read and write in my journals their whole lives, they’ve watched The Bloke and l swap books, maybe l turned them off reading, but lm trying hard with the next generation. I read to my Grandchildren l talk about books, l’ve started a journal with one of them, the eldest three- are seven l’ve got time!!
Do you like reading? Do you stick to a certain genre? Do you stick to an author? Is there anything you won’t read? If someone tells you a book is bad do you believe them or read it for yourself to find out?
I love books l’m a bookaholic let’s talk about books!! Let me know your favourite author and book suggestions!!
Yesterday l set the intention to get back into regular blogging and l put the question out there “Is there anything you’d like to read from me?” My blogging/Facebook friend Corina mentioned that she had ever been camping and was interested to know why l liked it so much. An easy topic to start me off!
Camping.. let me count the ways! Why do l love camping? I love the wild l love the freedom of being out there and exploring l think also l love the fact that we are limited with what we take, practicing minimalism.
When l was a little girl my parents would load the panel van- they slept on a mattress in the back l had the front seat, and we would drive to a river and meet friends with other children and just camp, cooking over fires, the men would fish, the women would bitch, the children would run free. I have many memories of falling asleep to fireside shadows and voices telling stories, and waking up in a different place and starting again!
So then l was a teenager and camping was a cheap cheerful way to get out and have fun, like that one time two cars full of us took off on a whim six of us in a three man tent with a wet dog that adopted us and decided to spend the night. It rained the whole time the boys went surfing, us girls sat on the beach miserably, we ate junk food by torchlight and spent the night very snuggly top and tail in this tiny tent with this wet sandy dog spread out along all of us, no blankets needed! It was a great weekend despite the weather and that one girl who went camping with a hair dryer and five pairs of shoes.. clearly she had never been camping before.
We asked her “What’s with the hair dryer?” she replied “if we go out for dinner l’ll need a shower and to do my hair” the rest of us laughed so hard tears streamed down our faces and our stomach ached “Where do you plan to plug it in?” We asked in between fits of giggles “a gumtree?!” We, the rest of us knew there was no power and certainly no “going out for dinner” going out for dinner consisted of walking to the kiosk and ordering steamed Dim Sims and Chocolate Big M’s! And if that wasn’t enough to shock her, breakfast the next morning was a meat pie with tomato sauce! Needless to say SHE never went camping again and she tried to change the guy she was dating so he’d stop hanging out with us- she didn’t succeed and she also didn’t last long.
My next camping experience was as a young adult, we decided to go camping to a popular beach side town about four hours drive away. I was with my fiancé and we took my friend/Neighbour and his partner. Loaded up the car and off we went. We had a huge tent, mattresses and doonas and not much else we planned to cook on the caravan parks bbq’s. We set up easily enough, everything was going smoothly, the next day we decided to go exploring so we cleaned camp opened the windows to let some air in and off we went. While we were out we watched huge black clouds gathering and joked about needing an ark it was going to rain that much! But the joke was on us!! The storm had already been through our camp site and our bedding was floating on a puddle of water… the feather filled doonas were soaked and soggy, our bags with clothes drenched, the pillows and anything else inside the tent were water logged and we spent the next two hours trying to rid our tent of water. We had to put all our bedding in the laundromat driers. We were very wet unhappy campers and l swore “Never again will l go camping!”
Of course l did! When my two daughters were babies, we packed up and went camping with my Bestie and her husband, our husbands were Besties too and were on a “hunters” jag complete with loud guns! We didn’t get rained out as spent a fun weekend.
Then there was a long break about maybe 15-20 years of no camping, instead there were mortgages, babies, commitments, divorces and tears and then there were houses needing to be sold and moving children to new neighbourhoods and life was crazy.
My next husband loved camping and when we first met he was going away interstate camping he rang me on New Years Eve 2000 from the top of a mountain which was the only place he could get reception to tell me about his camp and the critters he saw and he said “One day l’ll bring you here” in my heart of hearts l thought “not with these kids you won’t!”
Eventually we were a family of five blended children which comes with its own set of difficulties, five VERY different personalities and The Bloke and l wondering how to survive this mine field.
Fast forward ten years, the eldest four have grown and got lives and if not moved on at least able to fend for themselves and so the camping subject got raised again. The Bloke is persistent not in a mean pushy way but like a gentle stream of water that wears down your defences and soon enough l agreed “Ok let’s try it!” He had the gear and so we squished it all into our car with 10 year old Star Son and headed for Swan Hill about five hours drive from home on the border of Victoria and New South Wales.
The skies were grey and broody the whole time l was on edge remembering that one time when we spent a soggy wet night not excited for a repeat of that! We stopped for lunch and then the rain began uh oh!
The further we drove, the closer we got to our destination the HEAVIER the rain fell. To the point the wipers couldn’t keep the windscreen clear. Unlike some wives l don’t yell or argue l get silent even my tears are silent and l was NOT HAPPY!
As we drove into the town the rain started lessening and l voiced my fears about camping in a puddle, The Bloke said “if it doesn’t stop l’ll book us a cabin” Me “What if there are no cabins?!” Him: “I’ll find us a motel” Me: “Can we JUST go home!!” Him “No!!” So l stayed in the car when we got to the Caravan Park, the rain had lessened, he got out to check in and suddenly the sun came out.. no word of a lie! The sun came out, steam rose from the roads and out came Star Son and the Bloke like they’d planned it all.
Our first camping trip was perfect, warm days, cool enough nights to sleep, loads of adventures, tent was named Tamara and she was a dream and suddenly l realised l was enjoying myself! I liked camping! I’d forgotten the fun of living like a gypsy!
We have camped 3/4’s of Australia in Tamara, we quickly figured out what worked and what didn’t, what made us comfortable but didn’t add bulk! That first trip Star Son and l started a journal about “The Adventures of Tamara the tent” we all three of us wrote in it we added leaves, feathers, stickers, ticket stubs, we wrote about adventures and things we’d done like the day Star Son taught Mum how to do a front flip on the jumping pillow!! I don’t know who was more shocked me that l tried it or him that l did it!! Camping brings out a different carefree me!
Eventually The Bloke decided it was time to upgrade from the tents, Star Son soon got his own tent he called it “Trent” and we added a trailer to the list of camping supplies “Matilda” we went waltzing around Australia with Matilda keeping our camping gear safe! One trip The Bloke’s hip started playing up and he struggled to get up off the floor where our inflatable mattress was, we had to find a Dr and stay in camp a few extra days until the pain pills kicked in. He decided we needed to get off the ground and so he began researching caravans and campers!
There’s the link to see Ursula and all our adventures! Next Monday we are putting Ursula and her tow vehicle Priscilla Prado on the ship and we’re off to Tasmania for six weeks! I’ll share that trip here.
This post is turning into a book but we are passionate about camping we love it. When The Bloke retired last February our goal was to spend all our time camping but Covid stopped that. This year we are aiming for 100 nights (at least) camping.. watch this space to see how we go!
Here we are first of February already.. wow where did that first month go?
It’s been a crazy few years and l’ve not been good at blogging l need to get better so l’m adding this to my “to be done” list. I’ll aim for weekly but we’re about to go for a six week camping trip to Tasmania so it might be more frequent.
Firstly let’s do a quick up date…
2020 the year of Corona it was also the year that The Bloke aka my husband retired from his job. His plan has always been to retire when our youngest finished school which happened abruptly when he did his knee the first time.. yes you read that right “the first time” because he did his knee a second time albeit a slightly less vicious way! Still required surgery which was put off due to Corona until October and he’s still having physio for it.
So February 28 2020- The Bloke retired and to celebrate that AND his leap year birthday AND our wedding anniversary – yep l married him on a leap year (method in my madness because now every four years we honeymoon again!) this triple celebration took us to Bali for 9 days of bliss. While we were in Bali my adult children kept us up to date with “home stuff” including the need to bring home toilet paper because the shops were going crazy. We laughed how ridiculous until we stepped OFF the plane to an almost deserted airport and it was quite eerie. We were one of the last flights to make it back before mandatory quarantine. We found toilet paper and went about “retired life” a camping trip, then another one, the plan had been to meet friends from QLD and do a camping trip along the Murray river… and then Covid hit!
First to suffer was our weekly visits to my M-I-L in her nursing home facility. We had planned to go more often now that The Bloke was retired. Of course we understood the reasoning but l don’t know if she ever understood. In April she left the world, my Sister-in-law and niece were with her, My husband got to see her briefly and l got to peep at her through the window. So heartbreaking and of course new Covid rules meant no funeral. One of my Star Son’s friends offered him consolation in the form of a puppy and welcomed Roxy the Staffy into our family.
Then #lockdown became a thing and the start we had a 8.00pm- 6.00 am curfew and a few shops closed. Worse was coming. We camped in the front yard for Easter! We were able to walk an hour each day so we walked with the puppy l really think this girl saved my mental health during lockdown. I really had a hard time being locked in the house with two adult children a Grandma daughter and a newly retired husband, my art failed me for the first time l couldn’t even escape into Art, I’d go to my studio to do art and then sit there and cry or clean in the end l just stopped l haven’t done any art since April 2020. Instead l got a note book and took up journaling again because my head was so full of conspiracy theories and rubbish Covid stuff l also deleted Facebook and just curled up with my journal and my books.
In June they released us and at 8.00am we were gone, we went up North into New South Wales and toured and visited some friends near the Queensland border. We had to be home for my Daughter’s 30th birthday on July 6. So the closer we got the worse the news got. Finally she called and said “My party is canceled we might have to go back into lockdown” at that point we were back on the Victoria/ New South Wales border it was day 16 of our trip and we literally tossed a coin.. do we go back up to our friends in Northern NSW or go home and risk lockdown again? The Grandma in me yelled “Home and Grandbabies” and so we went home.
Lockdown2 came quickly and more severe, one hour a day to walk outside, only one household person could do shopping, everything closed and no one allowed into your homes. I couldn’t even see my Grand children, thank goodness for FaceTime. In the end we would meet out the front of the house and walk to the park. But even that was limited in the amount of people allowed to gather.
June- November such a horrible time. We camped in the front yard, we ALL distance educated a very active 6 year old, we gardened, we read LOTS and watched heaps of Netflix! We could only go 5 kilometres from home so we got to know our neighbourhood very well walking the dog.
November we got unlocked but we were only allowed to travel within our State and so once again we packed up and ran away!
We came home again for Sweetpea’s birthday and our Grandsons birthdays in December. We still had rules about gatherings and how many people in our homes etc. We are STILL wearing face masks it’s certainly now how we planned to spend the first year of The Blokes retirement.
But Australia has been here a long time and will be here a long time still so we have time.
January we stayed home to spend it painting the inside of our house, taking three or four day breaks occasionally to clear the paint fumes and go camping.
Our first big trip is to Tasmania on 8th February until March 20th. Then we’re on baby watch as we await the birth of Grandchild number 7!
My word for 2021 is FREEDOM…. (I will never take the ability to walk out my front door for granted again!)
My New Years resolutions (Yes l make them every year!) is ….
* Do yoga every day ( I hurt my back so I’ve had a week off – already broke this one!)
* Read 90 books (last year I got 85 done)
*Camping Goal is 100 nights! That’s a minimum number!
Then l added one more challenge for #the100daysproject I’ve decided to do #100daysofme it started on January 31st and I plan to do something special and nice for myself every day for one hundred days and I’ve just decided to document it right here so that I can be accountable… will you help me by reading and commenting to keep me on track.. maybe suggest some ways I can spoil me..
Day one #100daysofme #the100daysproject l restarted my yoga after hurting my back a week ago, I did #YWA for back pain and I did a workout for back pain with my new friend Pahla B who does workouts for Women over 50. I had been going great and was on day 12 of her Walk off the weight series but I guess I pushed myself a little too hard workout with Pahla in the morning and then Yoga with Adriene in the afternoon. Ouch! After my exercise I also gave myself a foot soak with listerine, apple cider vinegar and hot water.. lovely! I hit my 2.8 litres of water goal and kept my calories under control. Day one was a success!!
So if you are still reading… l hope you’ll follow this new adventure, share ways l can spoil myself. Also l am currently doing three reading challenges l’ll do another post about that later but feel free to share your favourite book l am always after book suggestions. I’ll do some book reviews too!
Here’s to 2021! Did you make any resolutions? Did you start any new habits? Come on tell me all!!