Tag Archive | travel

St Valentine’s Day

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.

It was crazy windy

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

Cheers to 21 years of St Valentine’s Days

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!

Art and travel.

Two of my most favourite things. Art speaks to me, when I see art that moves me it makes my heart skip a beat and I wish with a deep desire to be able to creat art that would let me get “stuff off my mind” I remember the first time art moved me in such a way, it was when I stumbled upon an art exhibition of the Dutch artist Johanne Vermeer. I had never heard of him, we, my husband and I were on a “date day” and it had been years since I’d been to the Victorian Art Gallery. My God Mother took me whn I was a little girl and I remember I was fascinated becuse the front of the gallery is a glass wall of water. Aunty Kath let me put my hand in the glass wall of water and we laughed and laughed as we got splashed with water, as an adult there was no telling me off for “being naughty” or for getting my sleeves wet, we had laughed together, I remember her laughing and the sound of the musical water.

So on this “date day” we went in, past the wall of glass and water which still attracts people becuase its different. And this day there was a special exhibition of Dutch Master Johanne Vermeer’s art, so we paid the extra and went in. I remember thinking of one of his paintings- a floral piece, that I could pick the flower from the vase and smell it, it looked so life like! And then there was probably his most famous painting “The Girl with the pearl earring”

His art made me feel emotional, it made me want to step inside his world and stand in the light of the window that he painted so many times. He painted every day scenes, some simple things like women writing letters, and it made me want to paint too.

Many years later, I did! My cousin and I did a painting class, it was a “date day” with my cousin, just the two of us, I brought her a painting lesson for her birthday and we spent the whole day away from our Blokes and our children and we learnt to paint a landscape, looking back it wasn’t that great and I can see how far I’ve since come, BUT it was a start, the start I needed because as I sat there I realised that the rest of the world had disappeared and I was in this heavenly little bubble, me and the paint 🎨 and when I walked away that afternoon with a painting that I had done, with mountains and skies and a Tuscany Villa, I DID THAT! Then a little voice deep within asked “What else can you do?” By applying the steps I’d learnt in that class off I went exploring!

“Date days” with my husband now often include trips to the Art Gallery, we took his Mum on one of our “Date days” to see Monet’s exhibition, and we went last year to see Vincent, oh my gosh! He made me so emotional and he also showed me that by painting half a sheep, the viewer (me) still recognised it as a sheep, although up close ot was not even finished! I was hard pressed not to look at some of his art works and keep myself from crying! Those sun flowers! Wow! I recreated his “starry night” in an art journal as a lesson once and I so wanted to rip it out and frame it, it looks so lovely!

Last year I did NO ART, none at all, I had set myself a crochet challenge and I spent the entire year crocheting, one granny square a day and a temperature blanket and a few baby blankets for various people, I fooled myself that I was “still being creative” but I would catch a glimpse of my easel and my paints and realise I missed that! So I decided that 2018 is the year of art! All art will be explored.

In October 2017 I turned 50! I have wanted to be 50 since I turned 21, this has been my milestone, for my birthday my Husband asked me “What special gift can I buy you?” I asked for a painting course and so he brought me “Lets Face it” with Kara Bullock, a year long class to learn to paint people, faces, positions etc, different artists and different styles.

Which brings us to the reason for this post, I have just discovered another painting course I would also like to do, its about Art and Travel, it has various artists and they will teach about their countries. Lucy Chen, with whom I painted “The Girl with the pearl earring” Oh my gosh! Seeing Lucy was teaching people how to paint THAT painting the one that moved me by THAT artist whom I LOVE! I had to do that, so a few years back, I painted my first oil painting of “The Girl with the pearl earring” and she hangs very proudly in my entry hall. This time Lucy is part of “Around the world through art” Lucy is of course doing China, but today I discovered Katrina Koltes is giving away a spot on her blog ( Click on her name) to this class! So I would like to travel to Italy with her (online, I wish in real life but online is just fine, I can wear my pj’s!) and win a place.

Lucy is doing China, yesterday Annie was taking us to Russia and I think tomorrow is Ireland!

if Art and Travel sound like fun you might want to sign up for this course, follow the links and lets go travel!

Big Lap WA 2015- Day 13- Merriden

Merriden… a small town in the middle of no where roughly half way between Kalgoorlie and Perth.

I was sorry to leave Kalgoorlie and I’ve added that to my list of possible “when I run away” places. Trouble is I keep telling people If I ever run away you can look for me…. here or here… previously it was always Mission Beach, a warm tropical hideaway about an hour from Cairns in Queensland… now I am adding some desert flavour with Kalgoorlie.. My cousin said to me a few days ago “I don’t get why you like the desert” which got me thinking… why do I like the desert? is it the barren ness, the blood-red earth, the silly stunted little trees  that defy nature and grow out of rocks and that blood-red soil.. I don’t know why I love it I just do.. I think it’s the introvert in me that says “Please leave me here in all this nothing ness and let me be.” I don’t know BUT I love the desert.. the nights are crisp and the stars are so vast, so many and so crystal clear I could just sit here all night and watch them.

We could have theoretically have driven all the way to Perth, we asked the girl working at the caravan park if there was a spot that people aimed for between Kal (see! that’s what the locals call it) and Perth.. she said “Weeeelll.. when I go to Perth I just wanna shop so I drive all the way through it’s only 6 hours” We could have done that but then the previous days before have all been long driving hours so we decided to break it in two.. I kind of wish we kept going now..

We got there quite early and since there’s not much of a town although it was bigger than some we’d been to, we decided to do just a basic camp set up, we were right by the camp kitchen which was fully equipped with a stove, oven, two BBQ’s, microwave, toaster and kettle… we didn’t even unpack our kitchen, we didn’t set up Will’s tent, instead we all slept in one tent so that pack up this morning would be much easier.

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Nearly there..

Then we went for a wander down to the shops to look around. We have noticed that the desert and all its dust/sand dried out your hands and face and lets not forget the hair..lucky mine is nothing special but it’s even less so in the desert.. I wear a hat to keep it hidden! So we went to buy some hand cream you know things are bad when the Bloke asks for some cream for his cuticles!! We are spoilt we prefer Avon’s Hand and Nail cream in the pink jar.. it’s almost gone so we settled for some Sorbelene Cream, and Star Son’s eczema is also flaring up maybe the different water or the heat which normally is a good thing for him, so I don’t know exactly why but he’s scaley we brought his some Dermeeze to sooth him. And we re newed our bottle of Bettadine when we realised that the one we have been using on the Bloke’s sliced open thumb expired in June 2013… OOPS!! So while we were there we told the sales lady Dianne.. that we are passing through her town and only here for one night.. what did she recommend for dinner… and without missing a beat she said “Well we have the BEST Chinese in ALL of Australia” ooh a challenge! Sadly the Kid wasn’t too keen on the idea and I was too hot and bothered to argue, I am falling into the trap of say- nothing -to- avoid- the- arguments habit. So I didn’t get to put her claim to fame to the test but I think we have to go back that way and so then I may have to put down my foot… instead we finally weakened and tried the “Chicken Treat” that is everywhere… it’s the WA version of our Red Rooster.. but gee it was good! Or maybe I was just so tired I didn’t care anymore.

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He’s crazy he’ll swim anywhere

We had a nice relaxing shower.. the amenities block was as good as the camp kitchen and even the Pool was awesome but I am a bit of a sook in the cold water so I haven’t been into a pool yet I dip a toe and then read my book. It was agreat little van park for a one night stop.. except…. the train track was right near our tent and it was obviously bringing iron ore from Kalgoorlie and it ran most of the night.. so just as we settled in to go to sleep… and just where you are in that place where you might be deeply asleep… the bloody train sounded its siren and I almost hit the tent roof!! So I snatched up my watch in the dark to see what god forsaken time it was… Oh shoot… it was only 9.30pm….. that’s our life lately.. early to bed and even earlier to rise..

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Camp Merriden… light version

This morning I was awake at 5.15 am.. I couldn’t even believe that how very dare those blood Grey Nomads.. what WERE they doing awake at that hour? and then the birds started.. Ok like I told the boys, you can’t blame the birds for waking up and announcing to the rest of us that “Hey look it’s daylight the sky is lightning, WAKE UP” the birds have been doing that since creation… but the bloody Grey Nomads.. they need to learn to sleep in!!!

As soon as it was light enough I read my book, no point trying to get back to sleep then. Needless to say we packed up camp and got out of there by 8.35am… a small world record for us.. but then we only did a minor camp set up.

Also time to get to Perth.

BIG LAP 2015… 36 days to go…

36 glorious days till we up and run away! (Ohh I’m a poet and I didn’t know it!) so in honor of tat I brought myself a t-shirt.. hopefully the weather will be warmer over that way and I’ll get to wear it.. but here’s a sneak peek!


Because YES!! we are heading pver to WA!! (Western Australia)

apparently Perth which is the capital city in Western AUstralia is the fourth largest city in Australia.. well who knew? not me.. until I started researching for Star Son’s Journal.

So it’s creeping ever closer and it’s time to start thinking (for the boys, I’ve got mine totally worked out) what clothes they might take and whats on the menu!! When we travel we take one small bag each, it’s actually a bag that goes inside a Motorcycle’s panniers boxes… so it’s THAT SMALL… when we went the first time I was like “I’m a GIRl I can NOT be expected to only take that much” but my DB (Darling Bloke) insisted that was ALL we had room for. So I made it work and work it did.. I went half way around Australia with four pairs of shoes!! A Pair of hiking boots, a pair of sandals, a pair of dressy thongs and a pair of wedges..Nicer slip on shoes in case we went out for dinner. Now I have heard women say that it’s NOT POSSIBLE to only take that few pairs of shoes, BUT I DID IT!! This time I am not even taking the wedges, if they don’t let me in with my dressy thongs then I’m not going in.

I am a HUGE fan of mix and match, so the rest of the outfits are easy, 3/4’s leggings, shorts, long pants for night when it’s cold, a pair of jeans, four t-shirts and four long-sleeved tops and a cardigan and a jacket in case it’s chilly it’s waterproof and lives in the car. I am taking a swimsuit, but I doubt it’ll be arm enough to swim, unless we o to some hot springs along the way. And the one thing I refuse to travel without is my “witchy shawl” it’s big and long and black, but on a cold night you can totally immerse yourself in it and not feel the cold.. it comes everywhere camping with me. I am also very guilty of and DB (Darling Bloke) will attest I LOVE SARONGS!! So remembering I have limited space in MY bag, last time I snuck some into Star Son’s bag and also a few into DB’s bag, and quickly took them out before he saw them (Shhh.. he’s going to read this and kill me!) BUT they are so handy! Let me tell you why...

  • they dry super quickly,
  • they hide your chubby bits when you get out of the pool,
  • they don’t cling to you on a hot day,
  • you can wear them for a dress
  • you can wear then as a skirt.
  • you can wear them as shorts
  • you can wear them as a top
  • you can wear them as a head wrap (to hide bad hair days)
  • you can wear the as a little wrap if the wind comes up
  • they keep your shoulders covered to avoid sunburn
  • They layer nicely under the “witchy shawl” if it’s really cold.
  • they make good table cloths
  • they make good dish towels to dry the dshes
  • excellent picnic rugs
  • windscreen shades in hot cars
  • sunshade on the tent when DB faces the tent the wrong way.
  • they keep the bugs outta your food on the table while you are preparing things
  • when Star Son was sick he used only a silk sarong for his bedding for a solid week.
  • folded up right they make a pillow
  • folded up right they make a quick shopping bag

I’m sure there’s more that’s about all I can think of so far! As you can see I LOVE sarongs.. I took 11 last time.. the Bloke will tell you “we would have had more room except the Sheila brought 34,000 sarongs” HA HA! this time I am taking less shoes so I think MORE sarongs are in order!!

What else is a must have? drugs.. we have started buying up the chew able Advil that Star Son will eat, because there’s a Murphy’s law kinda thing that says whenever you go away someone will get sick… last time I got my first ever cold sore.. never had one in my life, I think I was so nervous about being out o my comfort zone for so long I developed a cold sore, got rid of that then got a cold, which turned into a chest infection, I Lived on Panadol the first two weeks… so Drugs are being packed and cold sore cream and lip balm, we ALL had trouble with cracked lips in the desert. The Bloke keeps a fully stocked first aid kit on the car at all times along with out hats and rain coats.. so they are covered.

Then there’s the food bucket, with the essentials like Coffee, sugar and milo, a bottle opener,salt and pepper, eggs, matches/lighter for the gas stove and mozzie coils, We also have some snacky things in there for handy reaching for bored Star Sons who eat when they are bored. Then we will add things like canned foods, tomato sauce, most of this stuff can be brought along the way anyways.

In the Fridge– fondly named “Goldie” we have butter, cheese, our meat and cold drinks, beer for the Bloke and soft drinks/water for star son and I.

We also carry a collapsible picnic basket/chiller bag in the car with us, and that has our days food , so mixed sandwiches for lunch, and snacks, usually fruit and chips for the Star Son easily able to access. If we have a long drive, I will make the lunches before we got and they are nice and cold put them in the picnic basket which is a chiller bag and  they stay cold most of the day if they are not in the direct sun. So when we go on things like day tripping to Rottnest Island we will take our own foods and save money there, maybe just buy ice creams and cold drinks there.

Everything else goes into “Tilly trailer”

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Matilda or “Tilly” for short.

So maybe I’ll introduce you to the crew…

Heidi in the desert

Heidi in the desert- she tows Tilly.

This bloke always makes his Sheila happy, he spoils and indulges me, I am a very lucky Wife,

This bloke always makes his Sheila happy, he spoils and indulges me, I am a very lucky Wife,

Will was keen to slide down he dune!

Star Son- Will was keen to slide down he dune!

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So this is a typical camp scene.. left to right 

Jimmy “thunderbox” (toilet)

Middle with the kitchen is our tent “Tamara” the kitchen is “Donna Drifter” and right is Will’s tent “Tyler

So that is us.. and 36 more days to go and then we will share the next camp set up!

NaBloPoMo December is Joy….


Wednesday, December 24, 2014
What’s the best present you’ve ever given someone?

Hmm, this is a challenging prompt. I think I would have to say the year my Star Son turned ten. At home we gave him a hand-held gaming device I dunno which one maybe a Nintendo DS or something, they were all the rage back then, and we gave him that because we were going on a flight to Rarotonga in the Cook Islands for a holiday and to meet one of my penpals who was travelling there from Vienna. It was kind of like a “Meet you half way” deal.

So we boarded the flight and landed in NZ the day after his birthday but half way into the next flight we crossed the international date line and suddenly it was the 23rd again and his tenth birthday again, so the captain announced it and everyone on the plane sang Happy Birthday to him, and he was given another gift, a game for the hand-held device that he REALLY wanted he was disappointed he didn’t get the game originally but we had this planned the whole time. We went up the list of “best parents EVER” that birthday and not only that he had a great birthday week in Rarotonga, he learnt to snorkel and tried new foods and learnt to speak the local language and had a great time.

I think that would have to be the best present I ever gave some one.

Blogtoberfest 2014- Day 31 Finished and 30days digital journal challenge and complete!



Monday: Mosaic Monday – make a photomasiac to show and write about
Tuesday: Talkative Tuesday – tell us about yourself
Wednesday: Wordless Wednesday – post a photo and no words
Thursday: Thankful Thursday – write about what you are thankful/grateful for, Throwback Thursday
Friday: Friends on Friday – write about another creative you admire, Flashback Friday
Saturday: Some/Six/Seven Thoughts on Saturday
Sunday: Sunday Snippets (started by {tinniegirl}) – My week in photos… A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story


Today marks the final day of this Blogtoberfest Challenge and also the 30 days digital challenge. I am so happy and proud of myself for sticking it out. There were a few days there when I was unwell or just plain tired and I wanted to just sleep or die, and instead I made myself do a post. I doubt anyone is reading them but I kept on going!!

Tonights post is brought to you from Willowbend Caravan Park, Darling Street Wentworth New South Wales. Two reasons this tickles my funny bones.

  • We  live in Darling Court and are holidaying in Darling Street on the banks of the Darling River!
  • Weeping Willows are my favourite tree, this park is called “Willow Bend” there is not a Willow in sight, well, as yet I am to see one.

As Caravan parks goes this is very basic, but its crowing glory is the beautiful Darling river which silently lays about 10 feet in front of me. I love riverside camping! We’ve spent the afternoon watching seas eagles glide overhead looking for their next meal, and we’ve had the locals come by for a chat, a white duck I’ve named Snow White she has a crook leg but she has a beautiful nature and her two friends/ bodyguards are teal mallards, they walk by her side they swim one in front of her and one behind her and they watch over her so the pea hens don’t get too cheeky, Snow, came up nice and close and sat at my feet, I fed her some bread and then when I made the salad I gave her lettuce and she quietly quacked her appreciation, she sat at my feet for close to an hour.

We have had a rotten few weeks illness and Mother-in-law worries and so when we got here today and set up we spent the first few hours just sitting, me I napped, I feel like I have lots of sleep to catch up on. Star Son was eager to fish, this time last year he learnt how to fish at Lake Menindee and he’s got the bug, last year he caught a gazillion carp and two undersized Yellow Belly. So today he puts his rod in and within an hour he’s landed his first Yellow belly, it was too small to keep, we took a photo and released it, but now he’s even more keen to start fishing tomorrow.

Rob and I are still coughing our lungs up, so today as we drove here we watched the temperatire gauge get higher, but the time we got here (6 hours drive time from home) it was 37.5 C it was hot!! I told him, within a few days we will be better. We went to the shopping center and brought some lovely juicy oranges, and then sat there and scoffed them, icy cold and very welcome. We will be buying more tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are heading into Mildura over the border back to Victoria and Mildura is famous for oranges and Grapes and wine and most fruits, so we are going to stock up on fresh fruits and spend the week eatkng clean!! Salad challenge starts tomorrow!!

But for now, its bedtime!! I will definately sleep well tonight!!

Blogtoberfest 2014- Day 7 (I caught up!)




Monday:  Mosaic Monday – make a photomasiac to show and write about
Tuesday: Talkative Tuesday – tell us about yourself

Wednesday: Wordless Wednesday – post a photo and no words

Thursday:  Thankful Thursday – write about what you are thankful/grateful for, Throwback Thursday

Friday: Friends on Friday – write about another creative you admire, Flashback Friday

Saturday: Some/Six/Seven Thoughts on Saturday

Sunday:  Sunday Snippets (started by {tinniegirl}) – My week in photos… A collection of photos from your week. No need for words. Let the pictures tell your story.


Talkative Tuesday- ha ha I don’t need a second invite to talk!

Talking about me however is boring. let’s talk numbers..

Tomorrow is my 100th day “Walking with the Lord”

Saturday is my birthday.. I’ll be 47 ( I think?!!)  Yes!! (I got the calculator up and checked)  to me it’s a number, I am not and have never been one of those women who cries and mourns the passing of the years. I always say “I am 40 something” but 50 well that sounds so dignified, so when I get to THAT number BIG HUGE PARTY!! I don’t know why that number has such a pull to me it just seems “Grown up” although at 46 and 3/4’s and having three Grandchildren and Grown children, maybe I am already “grown up” but never mind 50 is the one I am striving for and once I get to 50 the counting stops and I will perpetually be “50 something” I think after 21 the only ones to celebrate are the ones with Zeros on the end. Maybe then I’ll be “60 something” and so on and so forth! So that’s Saturday, no plans it’s just another day, having said that I did go and buy myself a few books that I want to read, I do this every year for my birthday and for Christmas. I started it after a German penfriend of mine told me about her ritual.. “every time one of her three sons has a birthday, she buys herself flowers, because without her there would be no them” I really liked the idea about that, but I have too many children and so that never took off for me. So I reward myself for being born, for being a Mother, for being a Wife, being a Grandmother for being ME! and I usually don’t get things I REALLY want unless I specifically ASK for them and it kind of ruins the idea of any “surprises” so I buy them for myself. this year my favorite Christian book store was having a three-day sale, so I picked up three books that I really wanted.

Birthday Books

Birthday Books


This is the first two the third one had to be back ordered.. but it’s on its way, woo hoo! My same German penfriend I mentioned earlier told me about “Becoming myself” by Staci Eldredge and how good it was, she read it in German, so I didn’t even know if I would find it in Australia.. serendipity.. when the next week the book sale came and this was one of the “recommended” books! Plus everyone is raving about Joyce Meyer.. I am yet to read any of her books, no idea where to start so I chose this one drastically marked down!

Another number is 24- days until we go camping. I am excited about that because I have only recently began to love camping, I think this is about our 3 or 4th year (Must check with my Bloke on that number) he was of course trying to get me into camping out whole married life but with 5 kids between us and one of those with ADHD and ODD, I think a camping trip would have done me in and sent me totally over the edge of the sanity I thinly held. Now with just “Star Son” home, we decided to give it a go and so we got a tent, one of the old-fashioned Canvas type ones and packed up our poor car  to overloading, off we set. I will never forget the first trip we left early in the morning and headed North to a little Country town on the border between Victoria and New South Wales.. Swan Hill. The Bloke had a long weekend and it was Anzac Day on the Tuesday, so we did Friday till Tuesday. On the Friday morning the weather reports were not too flash and he assured me that “up North, the weather will be better” and so we went. Me and my journal documenting every second of that first monumental trip. However the closer we got, the blacker the sky got and the more worried I got.

(Back in the later 80’s maybe 1988, my then husband and I went on a camping trip to Lakes Entrance it was beautiful weather, great weekend, and so we left the tent open and went off on a day trip, it rained didn’t it? the windows were open weren’t they? the bed was drenched, the tent was flooded and we spent a very miserable night in a wet bed and went tent with wet clothes and I declared “I WILL NEVER GO CAMPING AGAIN!!”)

Fast forward to April 2010  and the sky is black so black we had to turn on the headlights. We stopped at a little town for lunch and the rain began.. boy did it begin.. we were still driving towards Swan Hill and I am getting more and more worried and finally I couldn’t stand it so I voiced my worry… “What if the rain doesn’t stop? what will we do?” my Husband ever the optimist replied “it’s ok it’s just a shower it’ll pass!” meanwhile the windscreen wipers are working flat-out, we can’t see the road in front of us, slowed down to like 40 kms an hour, the water was washing the embankment onto the road, huge muddy puddles and I am feeling very nervous!  Star Son picked up on the tension and whined about wanting to go home, he doesn’t like thunder, he hates camping, he wants to go home. I am biting my tongue and hoping not to cry. As we drove into Swan Hill I saw the Bloke taking note of the Motels and especially the ones with “Vacancy” signs. He laughed “if the worst comes to the worst we will get a motel”

And this is the truth, I kid you not.. after an hour of solid pouring rain, as we pulled into the Caravan Park, the rain slowed to a trickle. He went into reception to book a site and ask about a Onsite Cabin if the rain didn’t stop and was told “it’s only a shower it’ll pass soon” By the time he came out, there was blue sky and the rain had stopped and the birds were singing and I was thanking God for saving us. An hour later we were reaching for sunscreen and the dampness was rising in a mist of steam.. it was amazing.. the whole weekend we had temperatures in the mid 20’s to low 30’s and we went home with a sun tan! My journal still reads like a dead wish, me venting how much I hate camping even before we got there because of the rain. Camping is a fickle friend.. you can’t plan the weather, you can “try” to predict it but then even that doesn’t work.

We have since been on LOTS of camping trips, one we planned and looked at the weather and just KNEW it was going to be a wet weekend, so we adults planned ahead, packed extra clothes and planned a “mud fight” that we thought, ought to keep the kids occupied! Little did we know it keep us Adults more occupied!  There were three families so 4 kids in total and 5 adults. Sure enough it poured and poured and poured and we threw mud, we threw ourselves in the mud, we ate mud (not by choice, but when you are laughing wide-mouthed and someone turfs mud at you, you eat some!) The Adults started the Mud fight, the kids came back and saw us and almost fainted in shock, and then we all turned on the kids and started chasing them with handfuls of mud! We were camped in a National Park at Buchan Caves and  there were a few other camps around us, and a few envious blokes watching us cavorting with the kids hurling mud and laughing hysterically, and stopping to take photos.. the Mums on the other hand were dragging THEIR kids into their tents and I even heard one said “Keep away from them.. they’re crazy!”  Yes love, we might have been crazy but I wonder which families had the best weekend and which families are still laughing about “THAT dirty weekend at Buchan Caves

Cup Weekend October- Nov 2011


So yes we might be crazy, but these kids had a great time, we had a great time and we threw the clothes away, that’s why they invented showers.. Although Lisa was not allowed into the shower blocks in her section until she had hosed off under the tap ha ha.

Camping is not only for seeing new and exciting places, camping is also about making memories and starting family traditions. We have a “tradition” thanks to that very first camping trip. to Swan Hill in 2010. Every “Anzac Day” we try to visit a new place, we blend in with the locals and share their respect for the fallen diggers or a long time past. My Dad was in WW2  so I usually cry when they play “the Last Post” but who cares, we are thankful to all those brave men, and boys and even women who gave their lives for our futures. My Dad was one of the lucky ones but he is no longer with us so we go in his place!

Another year we went camping to South Australia to Glenelg, which will forever be called “Evil Cyclonic Windy City” the bloody wind was so horrific I hardly slept all night wondering if the tent would blow down and if I would waked up with the tent in a puddle on top of me.. well I did wake up, “Tamara” tent was still standing as we had left her, when we came out into the sunny morning, all around us were a sea of flattened tents, people had slept int heir cars or just packed up and left. We had only one slightly bent tent-peg but no damage. It was then I gained a lot of respect for Southern Cross tents!

We have since upgraded to a Station wagon, towing a trailer with all our camping gear in it. “Star Son” now has his own tent and his own little escape from annoying parents. In 2012 we did the half Lap of Australia, with our set up, and got chatting to one man at a caravan park in the middle of the desert at a little town (hardly a town!) called Mataranka, and he asked “are you the folks travelling with the “Matilda rig” I agreed yes that is us.. he said “mighty nice looking rig!” I agree we don’t go “camping” anymore we go “GLAMPing” The Bloke has got what he needs and I have added a bit of comfort.. like a Kitchen!!

So he added a “toilet’ and as we go we add more, we added solar panels so we can go off the beaten track. Now The Bloke has added a roof rack to “Matilda” so that we can carry extras, like fire wood and a flat packed firepit.. life is getting better all the time, our next HUGE adventure is across to Western Australia in 2015 for the other half of the Big Lap. In the meantime, there will be a few smaller trips locally!