Tag Archive | StLeonards

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!

 

 

 

 

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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!!

It’s Monday again… *sigh*

So we are on the count down for our “Big Lap WA” it’s officially only 26 more days.. the time is flying by and it suddenly starts to feel real.

This weekend coming, we are working on checking the trailer and stocking up on essentials.. new batteries for torches and things like that. This past weekend we went and brought ourselves new fishing rods.

Here is a photo of my new Rod.. the Bloke always a smart ass, went into the store and asked for some rods. and then asked for “A Sheila rod,” I added something pink and cute. So look at this lovely bit of art work on my rod, who knew they could be so pretty?

Look at these grips and that beautiful pink and silver reel.. you know I’m almost certainly guaranteed to catch a fish with this rod and the added bonus a pretty pink cap!

I do believe that’s the first time and most probably the last time I’ve ever been called a “Femme Fatale” but as you can see its to help raise money for Breast Cancer, so I’m proud to wear it… at least while I’m fishing!!

I had Star Son home from school sick Thursday and Friday, and then Friday morning the Bloke woke up sick and so he stayed home and we packed up and went to our holiday place, not much use staying here sharing he germs around/

Then Sunday morning I woke up with a croaky, scratchy throat and now I’m sick.. I am SO OVER WINTER!! this is the fourth time this winter we’ve been sick, my daughter Jasmin and Grandson Squishy are home in isolation with conjunctivitis and Squish has an added ear infection.. poor sweety!

I just keep humming to myself… 26 more days, 26 more days, lah lah lah lag lahhhh!

Last week The Bloke was on one of the forums he regularly visits and asked about “free camping” we are equipped for FREE CAMPING with our solar panels and own toilet etc, but so ar we have nt done much of it.. ok we’ve done none, because last November we went to DO some FREE camping but the lake was empty so we statyed in a caravan park in Wentworth instead. So someone on the forum mentioned “Pildappa Rock” which I have never heard of before and so as I do.. I went to google and found it and love it!!

Pildappa Rock is in South Australia, we have to drive past the turn off so we think we’ll go visit.. I mean it looks amazing!!

Karcultaby Area School should be congratulated for carrying out revegetation work around the base of Pildappa Rock. Good on you guys!

Photo from http://www.nullarbornet.com.au/themes/pildappaRock.html

Pildappa Rock's Flare Structure is a commonly seen feature of inselbergs. Only rarely are such structures found as large as those at Pildappa Rock.

The articles I’ve been reading are saying it’s as good as or Better than Wave Rock in Hyden in Western Australia, which is on our list of “must sees”

Whenever we are planning a trip, I always ask the “blokes” what do you most want to see? and we get together a list, the big Bloke chose Wave Rock.

Wave Rock

I love rocks, I have always loved Rocks, I fell in love at first sight with Uluru, and left a piece of my heart there. So I am excited to see these rocks, although I doubt they will hold the fascination of Uluru for me.. I could be wrong… but I think even Kata Juta (The Olgas- Uluru’s Sister rocks) has more call to my heart. Watch this space there will be LOTS of rocky photos!

A day in the life of….

Us while in St Leonards.

Down here everything is pared down and simple, we wear our old comfortable clothes, if they get dirty, wet or scruffy, we don’t care we wash them or throw them away. No fashion rules down here, the prerequisite are “warm” and “dry”

We also eat simply as well.. So I usually let Star Son chose the menu. Invariably it will feature  chicken nuggets. This week we ate chicken nuggets and chips cooked in the oven two nights in a row, we didn’t plan that, the second night we were going to walk into town and buy ourselves dinner at the chicken shop, but it poured rain most of the day and was dark by 5:30pm, and since we have no car, we decided to eat in again, which meant more chicken nuggets and chips.

Yesterday was Friday, and the Bloke was coming down after work, so we cleaned house, vacuumed floors and prepared for his arrival and then decided since we had some form of sunshine we’d go for a walk.

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                      Fitbit spits out these stats for me, which I love, we walked A LONG way!

We went to the Edwards Point Reserve, which is a track in the middle of no where that leads to some lighthouses, if we had started earlier we might have made it, but we left here at 2:00pm and by the time we got to the walk, it would have taken us three hours return to walk it, by then it would be dark, so decided not to attempt it, on the way in we walked the track through the bush, on the way back we walked along the beach, mostly, some of the beach was cut off and we had to venture in land, but mostly it was a beach walk.

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          Here is Star Son, sitting on a “Moonah tree” they grow in weird and wonderful shapes.

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    Here is Star Son under a Moonah tree!

I have done this walk before with “Squishy” when he woke up early one morning and I needed to keep him quiet so The Blokes could sleep, so I bundled him into his pram and we set off for a walk, a wrong turn lead us to “Edwards Point reserve” and we did some of the walk, until the path got too small and bumpy for the pram to go any further. But Star Son had no idea where we were going and I think he didnt trust me not to get him lost. Alas I am good with direction, so all was fine, he loves to take “Selfies” and so that’s what we did, normally I hate to have photos taken, but I am of the opinion now that, I should actually be in some of the photos I take, so go for it…

Walking along the beach, through the bush and just aimlessly wandering is good for talking, so we do,our best chatting when we are out there alone, he teaches me to skip stones and we talk about all kinds of stuff.

Then the weather started to change for the worse, so we headed home, had a nice warm shower and settled in to wait for the Bloke to arrive.

I also managed to get a little bit of art done, which always makes me happy, so that and the big long walk, makes for a happy Mumma, despite the fact that this morning I woke up with a scratchy throat and cough, again, third time this winter already!

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One of the pieces of art I am doing for Tam’s Lifebook 2013 Tam Edition.

S is for…..

APRIL-CALENDAR [2015]

This fun challenge is brought to you by http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/

Today is the letter “S

S

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

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

From Wikipedia.. 

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

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

You can also read this earlier post: https://kimlhine.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/something-very-strange-this-way-comes/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

giant angel fish!!

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

9 yr old Star Son picked it up quickly..

The Bloke and I snorkeling Selfies.

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

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

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

Sea Urchin, St Leonards Summer 2012

Red Seaweed at Indented Heads Dec 2011

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

C is for….. (triple treat!)

APRIL-CALENDAR [2015]

More info here: http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/p/what-is-blogging-from-to-z.html

C

Today is for letter “C” todays post is brought to you from our Easter holiday, we are at our “CARAVAN” (first C word), in the sleepy seas side town of St Leonards, I’m not going to tell you all about that you can read about it here: https://kimlhine.wordpress.com/?s=St+Leonards

So my “Cousin” (second C word) (I’ll talk more about her later in the A-Z challenge) is down here with her family, my star son and I drove down here yesterday with my Cousin and her daughter, we always have lots of fun! Have a look!

LeCuzz, Rachael, Star Son and Me with Polly the Dog.

LeCuzz, Rachael, Star Son and Me with Polly the Dog.

Then Last night my Bestest Best Friend and her Husband and two of her sons came down for the weekend. I have been friends with Deanne for 27 years now, Oh!! Wow, that makes us sound old!  I will chat about Deanne later in the A-Z challenge, but I briefly introduced Deanne here : https://kimlhine.wordpress.com/2014/10/03/blogtoberfest-day-1/

We had preplanned that while we were down here on holiday, we would do some of our “Crochet” (third C word) so we are currently crocheting a hooded Scarf each, since we are “Football tragic Mums” and have to spend hours standing around in the winter weather, we need to keep warm!

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I am doing mine in Navy Blue and Gold which is Star Son’s football team “Rupertswood” colours.

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So today at our Caravan, with my Cousin and Bestie, we did lots of crochet, check back here to see the end result of our “Hooded Scarfe”

Oh!! I forgot to tell you how this ties in with my “family” theme… When I was a young girl maybe 10 or 11, I would spend the school holidays with my Aunt on her farm, and she taught me to crochet Granny Squares. Fast forward many years, Deanne and I were both pregnant with our first sons, so we crochet blankets for them both, and then my Cousin Lee got into crochet and she reads the patterns and then shows me. Then when daughter number one was pregnant and wanted to give up smoking she needed something to keep her hands busy, so I taught her to crochet, and this weekend, Star son and Deanne’s son, they are both 13 yrs old, want to learn to crochet, and so we teach another branch on our family trees! Yay for crochet, a bonding experiance!

Next comes “D” pre warning you, I’m writing about my Dad and so it might make me cry!

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!!