Post 98

Post 98.

“Oh your boy’s are so independent, I was watching you set up your site yesterday and was envious of you and your hubby. The boy’s jumped out of your car and went and found their friends and you two laughed and worked together putting together your camp site.” This was said to me by the lady across the road from our site that I met last year. Her and her husband have been travelling the east coast of Australia with their three year old in a van and a caravan. No more to be said really, the poor love has a threenager, who is absolutely gorgeous but is an unholy terror,  living in a caravan. That is why she was feeling envious.

The boys did run and find their friends, but once they came back to ask for food they were advised that they should set up their tent before dark. One said no he wanted to hang out with mates, the other one started unpacking the tent because he wasn’t doing it in the dark.

They have been given a little more freedom this year, they have hang out on the beach with friends but must get us if they want to go in the water. They were allowed to walk to the tea tree creek. Boy one learnt a hard lesson, he was showing off and tried a trick that didn’t work and landed wrong and hurt his ribs and abdo muscles.

“I am making sandwiches and smoothies for lunch.” I had two responses of cool thanks and one of “No thanks I am going for a walk.” Dishes done, sitting reading a book I hear from down the street coming towards me.

“Mum I am starving can you make me lunch?”

“No, I made lunch, you didn’t want it, you can make or cook something”

“What!!! I don’t cook!”

So we had a cooking lesson, I sat and watched and directed and he cooked. He lit the gas burner, collected all the ingredients for macaroni cheese. And cooked his own lunch.

They were told they could bring $10 for the lolly shop and that was it, they had to look after the money and spend it wisely. First day one of them goes to the shop, thinking he knows best and loses $5.00 out the bottom of the pocket in his shorts because he didn’t want to use his wallet.

They have both been responsible with checking in and asking if they are able to leave the park for the beach or the headland. Last night they asked if they could stay out until 9.00pm, to hang with friends at another camp site. We said yes but had to definitely be home by 9.00pm. One of them came home at 8.58pm then other 9.31pm. The one that was late doesn’t get to go out tonight.

Lots and lots of lessons being learnt these holidays.

Post 97

Post 97

We are on holidays. We are at the beach camping. We are living in a camper trailer with an outside kitchen. The toilet and shower block is across the road and a hill from our site, the beach is four tent sites down our little street and across the roundabout, the bush walking track is the same way as the beach but swing a right up the hill once you go over the roundabout and there is a path that leads over the headland. The office/lolly and ice cream shop is next to the bush walking track. The park is at our back door and can see the picnic tables through the trees when we sit at our dining table. The park is small enough that the boys can wonder, but large enough that I don’t feel like I am sharing someone’s tent with them.

I love this time of year for us, we relax and this is our happy place. For a while now I have felt restless and wanted to travel abroad. I have wanted to see other places and cultures. I had a conversation with an 85 year old lady that was holidaying in a caravan next to us. She was telling me that she had been coming here for 50 years. This was where her and her husband honeymooned, how they drove down a dirt track and camped in a tent. That there was one shower for women and one for men, and she hated the line-up. She told me how her 3 daughters grew up here on school holidays and her 11 grandchildren and 1 great grandchild are doing the same. She told me how they book out 5 camp sites over Easter for 10 days and the whole family holiday together, everyone cooks, surfs, fishes, walks together. There are people coming and going all day, every day. She told me how her and her husband struggled to put their girls through school, they had hard times and good. There has been sickness, arguments, weddings, and births. But they always holiday together at Easter and Christmas school holidays the couple are here for three weeks on the same sight they have booked for 30 years. She told me that last weekend the majority of the family showed up. This wasn’t organised she said everyone wanted to check on the couple. She said she sat at the plastic fold out table with her daughters and a granddaughter eating fresh fish caught by her husband and she told me how grateful she was to have a beautiful family.

I cried, she rubbed my hand and said you will have the same darling.

Post 94

Post 94

We have just walked in the door from a two day road trip to pick up boy 1. He went to stay with my dad in Western Queensland for his first week of school holidays. The trip was about 7 hours travelling. The roads are long, the weather is hot, hot 43 degrees hot, my legs got sunburnt in the car and I was still sweating even though we had the air-con blasting. We saw more road trains on the road, than cars and the land looked as though it would self-combust. We drank 2 litres of water each on the way out, we stopped for a picnic because I refused to buy take-away and then sit in the car and feel bloated and sick, we stopped for lamingtons that are supposed to be famous for the area. I found them two big and a bit dry. We stopped in one of the major towns along the way and visited my sister and niece while they waited for their car to have a service. We walked to the pub on the corner on a melting road, the newly renovated pub had the air-con set to the perfect temperature and an Elderberry gin spritzer went down easily.

We got to my dad’s and my son nearly bowled me over with enthusiasm that I hadn’t seen in him for a long time. He wanted to spend some time with just his father and I for a while. We went to the Great Artesian Spa, and had a soak in the thermal mineralised artesian waters. We were the only ones in the aquatic centre and after getting into the pool, we knew why. It was as hot in the water as out of the water. However we paid $24 for the 3 of us to get in, so we were getting our money’s worth. We switched between the hot pool and the cooler pool, the first few minutes that we floated around in the water was actually relaxing to float in after a hot 7 hour drive. Until road trains full of cattle heading into the store sales in the next town started flying down the street directly past the pool.

After this we headed back to my dad’s place, a fair bit later than we said we would be. He wanted to take the boys to Christmas in the park. Which was as we found out; a sausage sizzle, raffle, bar, and school kids singing Christmas carols. Nice for the town folk, who being country people are extremely friendly, welcoming and will happily chat to a city slicker. But not something that we would go to where we live. I sat and listened to the carols with my husband on a park bench, slowing sipping a beer and watched the locals mingle, after nearly every single person I met said “oh you must be …………………………. (insert my middle sisters name)” “ahh no” and then the awkward “oh, we haven’t heard about you, where are you from”?

Me being my introverted self, felt almost claustrophobic watching everyone. Everyone knew everyone, everyone chatted and caught up and then moved on to the next group of people. This would seriously give me anxiety if I lived here and knew every time I walked down the street I would see someone I know. I definitely like living where I have my core people and everyone else is a stranger.

Post 91

For the last 3 years we have hooked up our camper trailer and driven south down the highway to Northern New South Wales to a little place south of Byron Bay. The caravan park where we stay is tucked in between a headland and the beach. The camp ground doesn’t have many facilities in itself but the location is perfect. To get our favourite camp site we need to a year in advance. The dates that we have stayed have meant that the same people have been there each year. One lady that comes to mind when I think of Broken Head has stayed at the park at the same time of year for over 60 years, all of her children and grandchildren have spent summers at the park and her husband actually passed away there, on their annual holiday. She is an expert on the weather, she out fishes the men and can be seen walking the beach everyday.

We spend our time on holiday walking over the headland in the morning, going for a swim or a surf on the way back to camp, we usually have a nanna nap, go back to the beach for more swimming after lunch, then it is “happy hour” with cheese and wine before heading back to the beach for a late afternoon fishing and a pipi hunting session. Then back to camp and cooking on gas oven, with ingredients and produce from the fridge that we take with us, we have a comfortable set up with lots of shade, the boys sleep in their own tents, and we cover our camp site with 100’s of fairy lights making it shine brilliantly.

With mostly the same people camping in the park at the same time each holidays, my boys look forward each year to catching up with their mates from all over Australia. They spend their days, at the beach, in the park, going from camp site to camp site catching up and getting to know families. The group of mostly boys in the mornings head up to the camp kitchen and cook and feast on pancakes. Most days I have to actually remind them to eat and I always insist that they are back at our camp site for dinner; otherwise I would never for the whole holiday see my children.

One of my absolute favourite things is getting comfy in my queen size bed in the camper trailer and listening to the ocean as I fall asleep, going for long walks with my little family and practising yoga on the beach is pretty high on the list as well. The 16 days that we are away each year, living a healthy lifestyle of eating beautiful food, being active everyday, spending time together is my favourite time of the year.