Counting and running as I go

Counting and running as I go
New Norfolk, Australia

New Norfolk, Australia


In February 1979, our family packed up my father’s baby-spew green Datsun 180B (apparently the actual name of this shade is Datsun Spring Lime. Who knew.) and embarked on the biggest adventure of my life up to that point.

(Thank you Wikipedia for the image of the car.)

Our destination: Adelaide, where my father would be spending the whole year at university, and we were going with him for a two-week holiday before he packed us on the train to Melbourne (from where we’d catch a plane home) and headed off to campus life.

The trip would take us two days, and all I can remember of the planning stage was that my mother kept telling us how hot it was going to be (the 180B had the classic 480 aircon), and we saved up all our spare change so we could buy ice creams on the way. I seem to recall that Golden Gaytimes were quite the thing back then.

We’d booked a self-contained beachside unit across the road from West Beach near Glenelg. For some reason, I still have some of the paperwork and tickets from this trip, and according to the internet, the units are still there – or if it’s not the same ones, they have the same name, Sea Vista.

We travelled over on the Empress of Australia. I don’t remember much about this, or even the drive. We took the inland route rather than the Great Ocean Road, and we stopped overnight on the first day in Mount Gambier. I can remember the stunning Blue Lake we saw while we were there. I can also remember we went via the Coorong on the second day, which was exciting for me because the movie Storm Boy was filmed there, and I wondered if the kid who had been in the movie would be there and if we’d meet him. (Not surprisingly, he wasn’t and we didn’t.)

My memories are fairly hazy of the trip, but I know we went to the zoo and a marine centre, we took the tram, we went in some pedal boats on the River Torrens, we bought lollies at Darrell Lea, and we spent most mornings on the beach. Lil Sis and I befriended a cat, which inspired us (in our father’s absence) to wear our mother down about getting a cat once we were home. I can also remember quite vividly Lil Sis ‘barking’ back at a dog that barked at us, and it being completely bewildered by this.

The reason for this wander down memory lane is that in 2002 Slabs and I thought we’d do a similar trip on our honeymoon, but take the Great Ocean Road, as neither of us had been there. For reasons related to the Ansett collapse it never happened, and we did something completely different. But we always wanted to drive the Great Ocean Road, and after we fulfilled our New Zealand dream last year, we decided this would be the year.

We’re doing the trip in July rather than the September school holidays because it’s winter, so we’re hoping it will be less busy because everyone will be in Queensland to escape the cold. (Right?) We’ll have a couple of days in Bacchus Marsh first with Slabs’ family before we set off. This will include a trip to Sovereign Hill, where I vaguely remember going as part of a school trip to Victoria in primary school. (I’m yet to figure out how this happened, because I don’t know anyone before or since who has had a primary school trip to the mainland, and it seems now that school trips, at least in primary school, are pretty much things of the past. Ahhh, Camp Clayton, Port Sorell, you are the stuff dreams are made of.)

Post Great Ocean Road, we’ll go through some of the places we passed through when I was a child, so it will be interesting to see if I remember any of them. I doubt it, and expect they will have changed a lot. I have vivid memories of the Blue Lake in Mount Gambier, but suspect this is because I have one of those old off-centre square photos from the old camera (with the 126 film cartridge) I took with me, rather than an actual memory of the lake.

Today’s packing day. I’m giving my trusty Midori a break and trying out a different travel journal for this trip. That’s the one on the blog title. It’s by Mark’s, and must be the first journal I’ve ever bought that has instructions on how to use it (in Japanese). Kramstable will also be keeping a travel journal, and making a video of our trip. He’s decided not to do a travel blog this trip, so it’s all up to me.

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Week in review – 2-8 February 2015

Week Goals:

  1. 16,000 steps per day – achieved every day. Gold star for me!

What we did:

This week was almost back to normal. School went back on Wednesday, and you already know how I felt about that.

Juniordwarf was with Slabs on Monday and I went to work. It was my last long day, where I got in to work and left at around the same time as most of my colleagues.

Since going back to work from maternity leave I’ve worked full-time (for 5 months), part time (3 days a week with 2 days at home) and part time (reduced hours for 5 days a week). I’ve made this choice because I want to spend time with Juniordwarf. I don’t want to put him in afterschool care every day and I don’t want to impose on my mother too much.

I’m grateful that I’m able to make this choice and that I have the opportunity to hang out with Juniordwarf after school.

But (there’s always a but) – I’ve found the reduced hours-per-day model is a lot harder than the 3 days full time-per-week model. I find it very draining, and one of my goals for this year is to make it work better for me.

The 6-hour days, where I take a lunch break and leave work some time between 4.00 and 4.30, aren’t too bad. It’s almost a standard day. But the 5 hour days, where I have to leave at 2.30 are awkward. I feel like I’m walking out almost straight after lunch, just when everyone else is settled into their afternoon.

I’m sure they don’t think this, but I’ve convinced myself that they’re thinking that I’m a slacker and not committed to my job because I’m leaving so early.

Of course this isn’t the case. First, I’m only paid for part-time hours, so I’m doing exactly what I’m being paid to do. Second, spending the afternoon with Juniordwarf isn’t the same thing as taking the afternoon off to do stuff I want to do. Sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s tolerable, and sometimes it’s downright frustrating and I wish I was back at work.

Mostly I let him decide what we do. If I try and get him to do something I want to do that he’s not interested in, it usually ends badly. So, rather than stress about this, I’ve dedicated the two afternoons we have together as Juniordwarf time. He can choose what we do – mostly. Sometimes I have things that I absolutely have to do, but mostly it’s up to him.

As I said, sometimes it’s fun. Sometimes it’s tolerable, and sometimes it’s frustrating and I can’t wait for Slabs to be ready to go home.

So no, it’s not an easy afternoon off. As several parents I know have said, spending time with a small child – while you’d never give that up – can be way more draining than the time you spend at work.

I could go on, but I think I’ll leave it there for now. There’s work to be done here!

Here’s another picture from the main street – this is the Shoe Mart, a longstanding establishment in the town, which is closing down soon. I love the signage. I hope it can be preserved.

The Shoe Mart

The Shoe Mart

The Wooden Boat festival is on in Hobart this weekend. Two Metre Tall has a stall there, so there’s no Farm Bar this weekend. Unfortunately I had to go out at lunch time on Friday. I’m not sure how I ended up here.

Ooops! How did this happen?

Ooops! How did this happen? It’s a Salty Sea Stout by the sea …

While I was enjoying my Salty Sea Stout, the Constitution Dock bridge was opened to let boats into the dock. I’ve never seen this before. My initial hopes that I’d be trapped in the boat festival’s Waterside Tavern indefinitely were dashed when I realised I could get back to work the long way round. Oh well.

Constitution Dock

Constitution Dock

I’ve been walking every morning in preparation for CARE Australia’s Walk in Her Shoes Challenge. On weekends I’ve been doing 90 minute walks that include the track around the river. The forecast for Saturday was 34 degrees (it actually got to 35 degrees). You’d never have known that in the morning.

Misty start to the morning

Misty start to the morning

We got two new chooks on new year’s eve. Today we got our first egg. This one is compared to the old chook’s egg.

Little egg

Little egg

Today we took Juniordwarf to MONA. Slabs and I had been in 2013 (it was one of my 100 things to do that year – and one of the few I actually ticked off).

We’d told Juniordwarf about it and, as you’d expect, he was fascinated by the idea of the ‘poo machine’. Slabs and I had seen it get fed the day we went, but didn’t stick around for the other end of the process. So today we finally got to see it. Juniordwarf said it was gross, or to use the terminology of the day, courtesy of Coraline, ‘gross-sgusting’.

We had an interesting afternoon and we think Juniordwarf enjoyed himself.

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Snake!

Snake!

Yes it's the poo machine

Yes it’s the poo machine

Fat car

Fat car

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Next week’s goals:

  1. 16,000 steps per day – I don’t want to peak too early.
  2. Go to bed before 11.30pm.

P365 – Day 60 no dogs in the car

Today was Sleepydog’s annual visit to the vet for her checkup and shots.

When I made the appointment last week, I didn’t give much thought to the timing. It was only last night when I was thinking about what Juniordwarf and I would do today that it occurred to me that I wouldn’t have Slabs’ ute today, like I usually do on a Tuesday, because he was taking it to work. (There is a long story as to why this had to happen, but the upshot is, there was no way I could have the ute today.)

Ever since Juniordwarf arrived on the scene, Sleepydog has only ever travelled in the ute. I used to take her in the car sometimes before, but even so, mostly she’s always been a ‘back of the ute’ dog.

So she had never travelled in the car with Juniordwarf, and as she’s a fairly hyped up dog a lot of the time, I wasn’t sure this was going to be a good idea.

Why not put her in the back, some suggested. OK, that’s worth a try, if she fits (I’ve never put her in there before, and the back doesn’t have a lot of room) – and more to the point, if she stays there.

My plan of attack was (1) strap Juniordwarf in his seat, (2) load Sleepydog into the car and (3) go. It started out fine. Here she is in the back. A tight fit, but she did fit (it’s not easy to take photos in the car with a phone camera).

However, before we even started moving, she’d made her way over the back seats and into the actual car.

Juniordwarf thought the whole thing was hilarious. Sleepydog didn’t sit still the whole trip. Fortunately it was a short trip.

It would have been a lot easier if I could have strapped her in too, but we tried that one time and she ended up tangling herself up in the harness to the point where it was useless.

So today’s lesson: Sleepydog is, and always will be, a ute dog.

Incidentally, this got me thinking as to whether driving a vehicle with an unrestrained animal  is legal (after all I don’t want to be going online confessing to have broken the law . . .), as heaps of people do it. I think it was raised in NSW by the NRMA when we were living there.

I looked at the Road Rules and the only thing I could find specifically about animals travelling in vehicles was Rule 297 (1A) (which is actually about the driver being in control of the vehicle, not about animals at all). Rule 297(1A) says:

A person must not drive a vehicle if a person or an animal is in the driver’s lap.

So now you know.