Tag Archive | Belfarniente

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- 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!!

Busy long weekend. Update, Book reviews, photos.

This weekend was a long weekend, which simply means that it was a public holiday today for the Queens Birthday..like most long weekends in Australia it’s just an excuse to go away and party or in our case relax!

We spent the weekend at our holiday place in St.Leonards and I’ve written lots about that so I won’t bore you again, instead I’m going to tell you how amazing I am that I got so much done this weekend. Its amazing really when I have some baby free time how much I can achieve. I had a stack of penpal letters to reply to so I took those along, seven letters to be truthful and so I got ALL of those written and posted! Yay! that in itself is a job well done, because I hand write all my letters and  they are usually 4 or more pages long.

au-writing-pink

Bookclub

Next on my list of “to do” was to finish a book I started back in April it was called “Adams Empire” by Even Green..

Adam's Empire

Mine was a different cover, but this is the one “god reads” has on display..

From Publishers Weekly
The protagonist of this robust and sprawling saga set in the untamed Australia of the first half of this century is a true child of the outback. Orphaned at age nine, at home under the stars, completely unschooled, Adam uses his fists and his wits to rise from poverty to prosperity. He befriends an aborigine, performs dangerous work in the opal mines, falls in love with a sensual half-caste, has a run-in with a murderous policeman, marries a cold and manipulative beauty and finally treks west to carve himself an empire. This striking first novel tells a colorful and entertaining story, vividly evoking a vigorous, multiethnic society and a beautiful, diverse, often dangerous land. Green is a journalist and the author of Alice to Nowhere.

Nine-year old Adam is orphaned when his father is buried during an Australian desert sandstorm. A childhood of roaming the outback with his father’s drilling partner instills in him a fierce determination to have a place of his own. In this fast-paced, gripping saga, the reader follows the hard-working Adam and his mates, Jimmy, the practical aboriginal, and Josef, the impetuous young German immigrant, from the opal mines to the desert. They feint with death in mine disasters, at the hands of Mailey, the revenge-seeking law officer, and in the ravages of flash floods. A more deadly threat for Adam is his beautiful, calculating, near-mad wife, but a seductive half-caste woman lends her own type of danger to all of the men.

Taken from https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4116936-adam-s-empire

So it had 780 pages and normally that doesn’t phase me but I’ve been so busy it’s taken me almost three months to read it all.. shame on me.. but to be honest I did read other things in between..I loved this book which started in 1919 and went up to I think about 1940’s so a nice long-span of time, and I like that it mentioned places we have been as a family. I enjoyed it but it was time to finish it and move on… I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5 star rating

So I wiped that off by Saturday morning and then, my cousin Lee went to a charity shop to look for bargains because it’s kind of a thing we do whenever we are down there together, and while we were there we heard about a BOOK SALE! at the St. James church. They have two a year one in January and this one in June, and this year I missed the January one because it was star son’s 13th birthday party weekend.

So we went to St.James in Drysdale and spent an hour wandering through endless rows and tables and shelves of books! I love it! I was able to replenish my supply of “Christian books” and I was very pleased about that and I ended up with about 10 books or sets of books for only $8.50! Bargain!

So while I was book shopping I found another book which was “Australian” for my “Read Australian Authors” challenge..

This  book was called “Diamonds and Dust” by Sheryl McCorry

Diamonds and Dust: A Sheryl McCorry Memoir 1

Sheryl McCorry grew up in the outback carrying crocodiles to school for show and tell. When she was 18 her family moved to Broome, and it was the first time she’d ever used a telephone or seen a television.

A year later, only hours after being railroaded into marriage by a fast-talking Yank, Sheryl locked eyes with Bob McCorry, a drover and buffalo shooter. When her marriage ended after only a few months, they began a love affair that would last a lifetime and take them to the Kimberley’s harshest frontiers.

Sheryl became the only woman in a team of stockmen. She soon learned how to run rogue bulls and to outsmart the neighbours in the toughest game of all mustering cattle. The playing field was a million acres of unfenced, unmarked boundaries.

Sheryl went on to become the first woman in the Kimberley to run two million-acre cattle stations, but her life was not without its share of tragedy. Her story is an epic saga of life in one of the toughest and most beautiful terrains in Australia a story of hardship, drought, joy and triumph.

Taken from: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11864222-diamonds-and-dust

This one was much easier to read it’s a true story and therefore fascinating to me a “City Slicker” I loved it and finised reading it this afternoon! I’m giving this a 4 out of 5 star rating.

Another thing on my “to do” list was.. “do some art

I had downloaded the video clips at home while I had the internet connection and so I was able to just watch them from my lap top computer down there, Last week I mentioned about a friend of mine who had gifted me some art classes… you can read about it here: https://kimlhine.wordpress.com/2015/06/01/im-back/

So I wanted to do some of the art classes Carrol had gifted me.. first class I did was from the 2013 version of LifeBook the “Tam Edition” which was “Celebration and Journey

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I forgot to take progress photos! Never mind here she is finished.. the Clouds are things we are grateful for and the flowers are things we want to journey towards.

Next up in the series was “our art guardian” and here’s how she turned out..

More info about Tam’s courses here: http://willowing.ning.com/group/lb2013-tam-edition

I also had downloaded a few of Mindy’s lessons from “Sunday Mornings 2” and So I also got done a double pages spread titled “The Crucifixion” This is the second time in the past three or so weeks I’ve painted on this theme and both times it made me cry. Maybe because I understand the background of the disciples deserting him in his time of need.

IMG_1948

I am so loving this piece!

I am calling it "Mary's tears"

Here is the previous “crucifixion” painting I did- I am calling it “Mary’s tears”

But you know what I am finding annoying? I am doing all these lovely pieces in my art journal! Arghhhh.. I had a Facebook friend ask me “how much for a signed copy”? and I replied “Priceless it’s in my art journal” so now I need to do it again and send it to him! I found this weekend that whatever I was touching was turning out nicely!!

More info about Sunday Mornings 2 here: https://app.ruzuku.com/courses/7987/overview

I also got caught up on my ICAD project…

This week the prompts are

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and you can find out more about this challenge at: http://daisyyellowart.com/vividlife/icad-2015-index

Tam’s and Mindy’s classes are at a cost.. and the ICAD is a free challenge.

Today we got back home and took Star Son’s friend home, we took a friend down to the holiday place to keep him occupied and once we had dropped the friend home, we un packed the car and went to visit my Mother-in-law at her facility, we took Sweetpea with us which is always fun because she’s so tiny and doll-like people just cant help but love her.. the Oldies adore her and she’s happy to perform for them, today’s little game was taking off Star Son’s hat and putting it back on each of us in turn, at one point she dropped the hat and as clear as a bell she said “oh shit!” I guess that means now we will all have to watch what we say!!

I wish she’d say Grandma like that!!

How was your weekend?

R is for….

APRIL-CALENDAR [2015]

This challenge is brought to you by: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ or as always click the above photo.

R

Today is brought to you but the letter “R” and for me some might say the most important letter.. sure it’s ALL been about Family, but his one is the reason for FAMILY.. finally I’m introducing you to my “Bloke

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloke

Bloke is a slang term for a man common in Ireland, Australia, Britain, New Zealand, and South Africa.

The earliest known usage is from the early 19th century, when it was recorded as a London slang term.[1] The word’s origin is unknown, and though many theories exist regarding its etymology, none is considered conclusive.

In Australia, a bloke is a unique masculine archetype associated with the country’s national identity. The “Aussie bloke” has been portrayed in important works of art and associated with famous Australians, while in the United Kingdom, “bloke” is an everyday term for any man.


See now there ya go, I even learnt something new, I had NO idea that Britain, New Zealand and South Africa?? really?!! used the term Bloke.. I thought it was an Aussie invention!! His Nick name started when I commented one day “Oh you are amazing, that’s so smart” he’d done something useful for me and I was complimenting him, his reply was “Nah I’m just a Bloke” to which I replied “Yeah but you’re MY Bloke” and he’s been called Bloke even since. To be fair he’s always called me his “Sheila” and I preferred that rather than “My Mrs, or the wife” Some days I think he doesn’t remember my real name but then when he calls me my real name I always cringe and think I am in trouble! The Bloke has introduced me to people  like this “Meet so and so and this is my Sheila” people then think my name is Sheila.. and later on they say something like “Oh and Sheila what do you do?” (A question I HATE!! read here: https://kimlhine.wordpress.com/2015/03/01/plead-the-fifth/) I then have to gently correct them and say “well actually my name is Kim” he’s so convincing at calling me “Sheila”

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=sheila

A great and loving person, someone who you can call a sister.The most amazing cook,generous heart,caring and loving. She is Funny and loves to Dance even if it is to her own music. Life is full of fun and funny stories with lots of laughter when you are with her. She pushes her self out of her comfort zone to accomplish the tasks that’s placed before her with a job well done. When you are sad or feeling ill she is the first one to respond to your side.
If you’re a Sheila set your goals high, Because this is what Sheila’s do.
It is Cool to be a Sheila …Bright, Smart and Beautiful in side and out. Most of all In tune with the Spirit of God!
Sheila: Spiritual,Good Humored,loving and caring.

Funny… I’d never read that particular explanation of “Sheila” before but it fits me!! My family often ask “what are to dancing to? there’s no music!!” ha ha!

So now let me introduce you to “My Bloke

My Bloke, Rob Hine, Perry Sand hills Wentworth New South Wales November 2014

Robert Hine was born 29th February 1956 (yep he’s ancient!!) He was a leap year baby, the first I’d ever met and then I ended up with a pen pal who is also a leap year baby, this fact will become useful later…

His parents nevr gave him a middle name, so I did… “trouble”

Robert.. sounds foreign calling him that! was the middle child of three, he was a cutie from the photos I’ve seen. A bit of a wild child, he says not, but I disagree he brought an old ambulance with a friend  and re modeled  it and set off to see Australia.. Wild child or not? They spent a long time wandering over the Eastern Coast of Australia and working as they went, scuba diving and other odd ball jobs. He is still friends with that friend who was the best man at our wedding, he married an American lady and moved to Florida but they come “home” yearly to see his Mum so we catch up then.

Somewhere along the way Rob met the lady who would be his first wife and settled down I guess.. I’m not going into all his sordid back ground but we need to touch on that stuff because that’s how he got our eldest son Kit.

By the time I got to meet Rob, he was a single Dad, enjoying some old-fashioned Rock ‘n’ Roll music, dances and seeing bands, he had a house and a steady job so I missed the footloose and fancy Rob and got the high-end business man, jack of all trades, this is the man who, when given a sheet of cardboard recently to take out to the recycling bin, comes back a little while later and says “Hey Hun, Look what I made” I turned around to look at him very proudly holding something.. I am always a supportive wife, and so  said “ohh it looks good but … umm… what is it?”

This” he proudly tells me “is the template for a collapsible fire pit!!” My husband is an Engineer, so if ever I am stuck on a project he’s the first one I call, he is very exact in measurements where as I am the “Close enough is good enough” kinda girl.. if I get stuck I say “huuuuun” you have to drawl it out and sound kinda pitiful..”I just can’t make this work, could you take a look?” and he says “Yeah sure Sheila let’s see” and within minutes it’s fixed. That’s the kinda guy he is, so he’s helped me with Quilting, Sewing projects, painting projects, decorating projects, school homework projects.. we always joke and I say “Can you take a Bloke look at this and tell me where I am wrong?”

So back to the cardboard “collapsible fire pit”.. I gently reminded him that it’s cardboard wont it burn? he says “yeah.. but when I take it to work tomorrow and put it into the computer and then make it out of steel.. you’ll see!” Side track… When we go camping, in tents, with all our gear stored in a trailer which we call “Tilly” we have very limited room, my Bloke designed this trailer and had it made to his dimensions and everything had a place and a place for everything it’s so snugly packed!

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He’s Tilly at the Big Banana in Coff Harbour New South Wales. Easter 2014

Inside Tilly has divided bits to hold stuff and store stuff and even shelves, it’s very clever and we love it, but there’s no room to carry a fire pit and sometimes we go camping and we wish we had a fire pit, some camp grounds provide them but it’s on a “first in first serve basis” and that’s not ideal. In Canungra at Easter 2014, we managed to get one from the people who were camped next to us and were leaving, and before we had time to even put some wood or paper in it, someone had come over and was about to pick it up and walk off with it.. until the Bloke said “oi.. that’s our fire pit tonight”  It was then a seed was planted and about 3 months later than the “collapsible firepit” was born, all because I was too lazy to walk the cardboard out to the recycling bin…

He came home from work about a week later and said “Hey Sheila wait till you see what I made ya!” and off we go to see.. he set it all up and yes it was amazing, we cook on it at least weekly now.

Fiona Fire Pit.. cooking dinner on the banks of the Darling River in Wentworth New South Wales November 2014.

The beauty of Fiona Firepit is.. she packs flat and takes up no more room than this lap top computer.. we cook whole meals on her we sit a cast iron griddle plate on top and on those bars where the potatoes are, the kettle goes so we have hot water to wash up. He’s made a few different ones, the grooves in the side of this one are where we rest the skewers when we made kebabs.

Now his work, are in on the act and want to see them.. I don’t know whats happening with that but we love ours and are looking forward to taking her with us on the Big Lap, August – October 2015 to Western Australia.

Here is Fiona in the front yard cooking jaffles in the Jaffle iron, I just found out recently they are called “Moon Pies” in the States..

So that’s my Bloke, Jack of all trades, when I see something I like he says “I can make that!” and he does.. I wanted bookshelves for the Study when we first moved in, he made bookshelves not just any bookshelves, wall to floor wall to wall bookshelves and the shelves were measured to fit in various books, CD’s, His vinyl collection and his bloody Phantom comics!!

Everyone has heard of the Phantom, he is the dude that jumps around in purple lycra and lives with the Band of Bandari pygmies and rides a white horse and has a pet wolf called Shadow.. (I think?!) In our house The Phantom is a legend and my husband collects Phantom and says weird stuff like “rough on roughnecks” and “the Ghost who walks the man who never dies” and his favorite is whenever he says something smart he proclaims it as “An old jungle saying” I’ve only ever read a few of the comics, because I really prefer books without pictures unless they are photos! So the Phantom Comics are side by side with the Old 50’s records, and they are next to the CD’s which we used for all our radio shows when we did those. My Bloke rarely watches TV, mainly only the Football or the news, he reads occasionally but once he’s into a good book he hates to put it down.

Teaching Squishy to Swim, Australia day 2014- Alexandra Victoria.

He used to brew his own beer, and I will never forget that smell or brewers yeast fermenting in the laundry!! He likes to cook, and in fact will not allow me to cook Steak,BBQ, Fish/Seafood or any Roasted meats.. I feel he doesn’t trust me. he likes to choose a meal each week that he will have to cook  “gives you a break hun” and if I cook, he’ll dry the dishes! He loves tomatoes but hates them cooked. He has a life long version to brussel sprouts, I will never forget the day we were in the check out line at Aldi, and I was asking him “What is so wrong with Brussel Sprouts?” and he waffled on about the yucky texture and the smell etc etc, and he said well so and so doesn’t like them and either does so and so, and so I smart assed-ly asked “So I suppose you are going to tell me that Niddrie Tech School taught you ALL how not to like Brussel Sprouts” and before he had the chance to reply.. the guy in front of us turned around and said “yes it’s true! Mr So so the Maths teacher put me off them for life” Oh My Gosh.. seriously?? then these two blokes stood there for like 10 minutes discussing how they hate Brussel sprouts and did you know Mr so and So at NIddrie tech school?

Camping with Family and friends Easter 2013

Rob and I, Debbie and Mark, Cousin Lee and Craig

But see that’s another thing about my Bloke, he’ll talk to anyone and find something in common with anyone. He likes little children and will play peek-a-boo in the supermarket with a total stranger and I will say “can you please leave that child alone and finish the shopping?” Once in a second hand shop in Alice Springs in the middle of the Northern Territory, There were some Indigenous Australians in there and a little girl about maybe 2 yrs of age, just was fascinated by Rob, maybe it was his silver hair or how tall he is or his soft voice, but she fixated on him to the point where she blocked the door and would let us leave the shop, and then when we did manage to escape she stood there and cried.. we all fell in love with her and talked about the chances of kidnapping her and keeping her.

This is the man who claims “I hate cats!” and then when we found homes for all but one kitten decided that maybe we should keep her as we were keeping her brother. He named her Janis Martin after his favorite 50’s singer, and she became his shadow. So one day he’d been out in the shed for ages working on his motorbike and I thought I’d do the dutiful wife thing and go see what he’s up to.. I hear music blasting and there is Rob and his Cat, heads together working on a piece of Motorbike.. I said “Ohh you two look very cozy there!” and he gives me this Growl.. “she won’t bloody move and everytime I put my head down she puts hers down for head rubs!” yeah right.. he loved it! he nicknamed her “Janis floppy Shed cat” He was so devestated when Janis left home and went to live with the neighbours down the street, The dogs that used to live over the road trapped her one time in the shed, and she was obviously more traumatised that we realised because she’s never set foot in the shed again and moved house as well.. traitor!!

When I got the bright idea to shave my head and raise money for the Leukemia foundation, he didn’t hesitate to jump on board! Thats true love!

Rob and I have been married 11 yrs this year together 15. We got married on HIS birthday 29th Feb 2004, I told you it would come in handy later!! I married him on his birthday for two reasons A- he’ll never forget the date and B- When we have a “real” anniversary every 4 years we also have another honeymoon!! Clever huh?

And although the numbers say it’s a short time it seems like forever, he’s changed my life in so many ways. when I first met Rob I was convinced this would go no where! We were too different, He was a fancy business man shirt and tie kinda guy and I was a single mother of three, housewife mousy person. We have met somewhere in the middle.. he’s relaxed a bit and I’ve lifted my game a bit and we have a happy medium. I found it so hard to go to the Rock ‘n’ Roll dances at the start, I didn’t know how to dance and everyone was so beautiful and dressed up, so Rob took it upon himself to give me dance lessons, at impromptu moments, usually in the kitchen while dinner was cooking, which 9 times outta 10 would end up with a kiss, and then 4 children groaning “errr yuck.. get a room!!” Eventually I learnt some steps and went to a dance and danced and loved it and we have been dancing ever since, now I am teaching the Grandbabies and sometimes all four of us will dance in the kitchen, Me with Sweetpea and he with Squishy. All the good things happen in my kitchen!!

For our Double Digit Wedding Anniversary in Feb 2014, we had a Mystery Flight and spent a romantic weekend in Brisbane Queensland. He hates to fly, I would fly every day!!

He taught me to not only endure camping, but to love it to embrace it and to want to go more. We said when we went away for our first “Big Lap” September – November 2012, we will either get closer or one of us will come home dead. A few times we had some harsh words because he wanted to be Mr Perfect and do it all himself.. but once he decided to chillax a little bit and give me some chores well life got smoother. He’s taught me to try new things, to taste new things, to explore new places, and so in the last 15 yrs I’ve done more than in the previous 33 years!

Celebrating Amber’s Birthday March 2015.

So there is only one family member left to meet.. my Star Son.. and he’s at letter “W” I hope you’ll check back and meet him.

Will, Me and Rob on the Melbourne Star, terrorizing their Mother/Wife!

Something VERY strange this way comes….

It’s a very rare and unusual occurrence when we get a night off from “any” of the children or Grandbabies, daughter # 2 lives with us and her daughter is my “Sweetpea” so I’m always with her, and of course Star Son being only 13 of course lives at home. So occasionally we have an odd night off where we will go out and do “grown up” stuff.. whatever that is.. the last night off we had, was 3rd of January when we attended a wedding for my nephew and stayed overnight in Melbourne.

So this weekend we had planned to go to our “home away from home” it’ll probably be our last full weekend now until the end of the year since on 19th April Football season 2015 officially begins and then no one goes anywhere except to football training and football matches.. So this was to be our weekend…. then things started changing…

Firstly, Star son got invited to a last-minute party, which means a Sleepover tonight, and all day tomorrow at Luna Park, a fun park in Melbourne suburb of St.Kilda. The other parents would pick him up tonight at 6.15pm and bring him home tomorrow at 5.30 pm. So the Bloke said “yes” and I said “NOOOOOOOOOO.. what about our weekend at “Bel far Niente“???” then my very wise husband had a plan…

Star Son will spend the night with daughter #2 tomorrow night which means.. a very rare occurrence.. we get TWO WHOLE NIGHTS KID FREE!! Sorry for the caps lock.. not really.. I am THAT excited! This was planned on Wednesday so every time the phone rings I expect to hear something like deals off plans cancelled or whatever. Now it’s only a matter of hours away I can begin to feel a little excited!

So let me tell you about “Bel Far Niente” (means Beautiful doing nothing) when I named our place that I did so with the understanding that it meant “The Art of doing nothing” which is how it was explained in the book called “Eat, Pray, Love” So I chose that because when we go there, that’s exactly what we do nothing and art and read books and just unwind! So as I am writing to my penpal who is in Italy I explained about the name and why I chose it and she wrote back to me and explained it’s wrong.. it means “beautiful doing nothingOK, that suited me too, because everyone knows that when Mum goes to “Bel Far Niente” that’s what she does NOTHING! Most of the time The Bloke even cooks, this is my getaway place, I catch up on my penpal mail, I get serious reading done and sometimes I even get ART done, all the while I’ve usually got at least one child with me… except this weekend!

Bel Far Niente” is an Onsite Caravan with a hard annex (to my American Pals it’s a trailer with an extra room) it’s on site and we pay a yearly fee to leave it there, so it’s set up whenever we have time to go down, we take the basics and within ten minutes of being there and setting up (turning on the power, opening the windows and unloading the car) we are already starting to relax in the serenity that is St.Leonards.

St. Leonards Victoria.

Taken from Google images…The Pier with the ice-cream kiosk and just to your right outside of the photo its a children’s playground and the local shops.

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”


This sleepy little town has the basics, a supermarket, bakery, post office/newsagent, cafe, real estate agents, hardware store, chemist, hippy shop, fish n chip shop, pizza shop and the mandatory pub! which serves nice meals, has rooms to rent and sometimes a band on Saturday nights.

So there’s not a whole lot to do, it’s beach side, there’s a boat ramp and the caravan park, as well as two seasonally opened foreshore camp grounds. I especially love it down there in winter because NO ONE is around… I remember one winter school holidays my cousin Lee and her daughter and Star Son and I were the only ones in the whole caravan park.. and we loved it. There’s something about walking along the beach in winter with the wind ripping your head off your shoulders,it kind of gets rid of all the cobwebs..

My Cousin Lee and her partner Craig have an onsite van directly behind us we are neighbours and its great we wander between the two vans when the men are not there, they go home during the week for work and we spend time there, eating junk food and painting or crocheting or just watching mindless TV.. there are limited TV channels, sketchy internet access and radio comes and goes. It’s usually warmer down there than it is at home despite the fact we are by the beach, The Bloke explains it’s because it’s ‘the bay” so it’s protected.. we don’t get huge surfable waves at our beach but there’s good snorkeling under the pier, once we swam with a “banjo ray” that was scary for me, not so for the Bloke who knew what it was.

The local Pub! (google images)

The Main street (Google images)

The Bakery in St.Leonards makes the best Vienna loaf bread, and even when I say “I’m doing detox and can’t eat bread” the smell that wafts from that bread just screams “Eat me” and inevitably I do!

So this weekend I have a “Get out of jail ” free ticket.. no kids! oh the joys, to have my Bloke from Friday night till Sunday afternoon all to myself..maybe I’ll get a whole sentence finished.. if we have anything to talk about at all… Maybe I’ll finally get to go to the local Cidery that’s just opened, we went there one day and Star Son was not ‘in to it” and so we didn’t even stop the car and go in.. maybe this weekend.. or maybe we will go to the new Olive grove that’s opened and they sell oils and other “olive” made products. Maybe my Bloke will take me for brunch at some fancy little cafe… and then again maybe we will just do as we always do.. sit, read, do art, write letters and soak up the serenity.. either way, NO CHILDREN!

Anyways I’d best go pack, all the assorted Art supplies, all the penpalling paraphernalia and a few books!

I can hardly believe my luck!!

NaBloPoMo December is Joy… Bel Far Niente day one.

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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..

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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!

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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!!

 

NaBloPoMo.. December is… Joy..

DecemberNaBloPoMo2014-JOY

Monday, December 15, 2014
Where is your happy place?

My happy place is my favorite place. We call it “Bel Far Niente” which means “Beautiful doing nothing” when I first read the book “Eat, Pray, Love” they translated it wrong, she (in the book ) told us that “Bel Far Niente” meant “the art of doing nothing” so I was telling my Italian penfriend we named our holiday place that because we do art and not much else down there…She promptly wrong back and told me “Bel (beautiful) far Niente (nothing) so it translates to “Beautiful doing nothing” whatever it means we go there and we do nothing. we read books, we walk along the beach, I write my letters and catch up with my reading.

“Bel Far Niente” is an onsite caravan (trailer for my Overseas friends) basically it means it just stays there and we pay rent to leave it there.In a sleepy little seaside town called “St Leonards” which is about 1 hour 45 minutes from my home, so a nice easy after work on the Friday night run. We leave a supply of clothes and food there so we just have to take a handful of goodies with us and get in the car and go!

There’s a certain point somewhere between Bacchus Marsh and Geelong where you can feel the tension in your shoulders start to ease and by the time you arrive, you are already on the way to relaxation mode.

At “Bel far Niente” we sit and drop meaning we relax, sometimes we will take a lazy beach walk or a walk around the lake, sometimes we just sit and watch the world go by and it’s my happy place because I can do as much or as little as I feel the need to do. There are limited TV stations, limited Internet access, comfortable beds and couches and peace and quiet.

Usually on the school breaks “Star son” and I have been known to go down for two weeks, we spend the time playing board games, and ball games and skipping stones, and collecting shells, and I’ll read and write letters while he is playing with the other kids and we eat very simply, because we are on holidays.

We are off to our “Happy Place this Thursday night for four days, a pre-Christmas escape from work get-a-way. Even my Bloke gets to relax and read a book or two. Summer is made for “Be Far Niente”!!

Images found on Google. From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/St_Leonards,_Victoria

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”

NaBloPoMo 2014- Day 28- On The Road Again

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I have always loved that song By Willy Nelson “On the road again” so when I needed a name for my blog when we set off to travel half way around Australia in September to November 2012, that song popped into my mind.

So now whenever we travel, anywhere even to here (1 hrs 45 mins away from home) I sing it as we leave.

We have another weekend where we have the chance to escape, we have brought Sweetpea down with us, because it was my turn to baby sit her and my one night turned into two, so we left home at 7.30pm, she’s been bathed and got her pj’s on ready to go to sleep, I “thought” she’d go to sleep in the car and I would carry her into bed and she’d stay asleep.. Wrong Grandma!!

It’s now 11:32pm, and “Grandpa’s Brighteyes” is currently singing us all a lullaby, sleep doesn’t look like coming anytime soon… Luckily I have some blogging and journalling to catch up on.

When we got here at 9.20pm, she had to explore, she taught herself to negotiate the two steps up and down, she watched Grandpa use the spinning top and right away she had that pegged. Then she found a red rubber ball and quickly learnt how to roll it to Uncle Will, today we are teaching her to say “Grandma” it shouldn’t be too hard, she says “Grandpa” but Grandma is a different matter, she growls it out, as though she is extremely angry,”GrrrandMA!” I am not sure why my name should be so angry, when we say to her “Can you say Grandma” she turns around and looks at me with her cheeky little grin, she knows what we want but she ain’t playing till she’s good and ready!

It’s going to be a beautiful day apparently tomorrow and Sunday, so we are taking Sweetpea across the road to the beach, stay tuned for cuteness overload!!

Today, my Salad was in the form of a chicken salad wrap, however I was so starving, I’d eaten half of it before I thought to take a photo, so Day 28 NO SALAD photo… My water intake is complete and my steps were over 10,000 I think about 15,500 or so..

Breakfast- 2 egg omelette with roasted carrots and capsicum,

Lunch- Chicken salad wrap

Dinner- broke my good run… Remember 90/10.

oh well…tomorrow is a new day!!!

Sleep well friends.