Archive for the 'journal' Category

a beautiful sunny day trip

A week or so before Sprout’s 5th birthday this past July we got a brand new car, a Toyota Prius C (funny little hatch back hybrid petrol/electric car). We took it for a maiden voyage to Kalbarri, 150km away from Geraldton, just for the day.

Neither Bean or I had been to Kalbarri before, and obviously the sprogs hadn’t either.

We were suitably impressed. The day was warm and sunny, the people were happy and helpful… with the single exception of the racist git at the fish and chip shop who revealed his racist git-ishness after we’d bought our dinner from him.

When we first got into town we had a hot bevy at one of the cafes, grabbed a new sunhat each for Sprout and I then we took a drive out to some gorges. The Prius did very well on the gravel roads despite being a city car and the sproggets were happy enough to look out the window and be merry since the new car most definitely still had novelty value.

The gorges we were at were very exposed and quite busy so we weren’t so keen to have our lunch there. We got back in the car and found somewhere a little way down the road that offered shade, some water to dip our feet in, and a few less people.

After lunch Bean was itching to check out the surf break Jake’s Point. There was a large rock pool at Jake’s so while Bean was taking photos of surfers and cursing the fact that we couldn’t fit his surfboard into or onto the Prius the sprogs and I had a look in the rock pool. There were a few interesting shells, a crab and a seastar that was unfortunately already dead.

It was windy at Jake’s and the sprogs were getting cold because they’d got their kit off and had a paddle in the rock pool. I chucked a little tanty about not wanting to sit on a beach watching people surf & worrying about how close the sprogs would get to the edge of the rocks so Bean reluctantly agreed it was time to go.

We headed to another couple of beaches for a quick look but my absolute favourite, and the one we spent the most time at was the last one we checked out. Since it’s been a couple of months I can’t recall which of the colourful names this beach had been blessed with, I like to hope it was the one called Rainbow Beach (or something to that effect)…

We parked at the top here and walked down a path in a small gorge to the small, sheltered section of sand & tiny crushed shells.

It was such a magical place, although the sign at the end of the path warning us that lives had been lost at that beach reminded us of the danger in the beauty that lay before us.

We climbed the beautiful sandstone rocks at the far end of the beach to look out to the ocean.

We found ourselves standing next to some rushing water. Dangerously beautiful. We watched the water come in and go out with the tide.

Bean and I held tight to the sprogs hands, taking in the sights and the smells of the sea air before we headed back down to the beach to look at shells.

The sprogs and I managed to make a rainbow with the little crushed shells around us while Bean explored some little nooks under the cliffs on the other side of the beach.

The sun was setting, our tummies were grumbling and we knew we had to get back up that path through the rocks so we started to head back in to town to find some dinner before the drive back to Geraldton.

We found the aforementioned racist git fish & chips which we thoroughly enjoyed eating while watching the sun slip into the ocean at the town beach.

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a brief fling with television

The house we’re renting for our short time in Geraldton is furnished. Not one single item of furniture in the house is to my taste, but whatever hey? We’re only renting it for four months and two of them have passed fairly incredibly uneventfully already.

The house comes with television. Three of them actually.

This is the first time Bean and I have ever lived in a house with television. Neither of us owned a TV when we got together so we saw no good reason to change that once we started living together. Blissfully we’ve lived without TV, relying on our computers to view TV shows and movies online when we wanted.

Last year, while living through a wet Winter in the tiny shed, I introduced the sprogs to Playschool. When we needed a change of mood and heading outside or to another room (we didn’t have another room!) was out of the question I’d put an episode of Playschool on the computer, buying half an hour of mental space for me and entertainment for the sprogs. Before this they’d had very little exposure to screens, always at other people’s homes.

Moving to a house with TV was a bit weird for us, it gave us another thing to do, but it was a thing we’d actively chosen not to do before now.

The (only) thing I love about this house is the amount of storage space. We have such a small amount of stuff here with us that we can’t possibly fill all the cupboards with it so there was plenty of room to put the wall decorations* into an unused cupboard where I don’t have to look at them and there was room in the same cupboard for two of the televisions also. Brilliant!

The third, and (by far) the largest television was in the loungeroom. It took up about 2.5 square metres of floor space (at least a quarter of the available floor space), the chairs all faced it and it constantly demanded attention, whether it was on or not.

We got a little sucked in to it, what with having no friends locally and being tempted by it’s awesome time passing ablities.

The sprogs watched a bit of ABC for kids. It became a more dominant feature in our lives where our previous screen time experience  was all about watching an episode or two of a chosen show before continuing with other screen-less activities. The TV was turned on and they watched whatever was on. They watched TV to pass time, using it as a fast forward button on the day rather than as a tool to enjoy a specific program.

There were shows (always children’s shows) which scared the sprogs and caused nightmares later on, but Sprout would always get upset if I turned the show off. Moe never really got so sucked in, if the show didn’t interest him he’d walk away and find something else to do.

For Sprout though the TV became a bit like a drug. Understandably, she was (is!) bored, there’s little for them to do at this house between the times we’re out and she wanted to pass the time. She became aggressive and violent, particularly immediately after the TV was turned off. Her capacity to enjoy time spent doing other home based activities diminished, her desire to do anything other than watch TV diminished. She began pleading and bargaining for more TV time.

The final straw for me was when she hit Moe for standing in the way of the TV. I was worn down by all the begging, I was irritated and overstimulated by the overwhelming images flashing before our eyes, the loud noises, the silly voices – children’s television is a lot brighter, louder and more intense than it was when I was a child.

That night I asked Bean to help me move the TV into one of the storage spaces and move the sprogs toys into the loungeroom.

It seemed so silly that their toys were in the sleep out, farthest from the main living area than any other room in this little shack, with no heating and flimsy fibro walls while the massive eyesore of a TV was in the heated loungeroom.

In a short time we had the TV out of sight and the toys in its place. The sprogs were delighted the following morning to wake to their toys in an already warm room.

There have been some questions about the TV, but they were answered and we’ve moved on. We’re back to the occasional episode of Playschool or some other short children’s show on the computer, with Bee Movie** showing most days while I’ve been sick this past week.

There are certainly times I wish we did have the TV set up so I could turn it on to a channel designed for children and have some peace myself, but the reality is that the break isn’t worth the angst at the end of it, nor does it feel like a break when there’s irritating TV noise in the background.

I’m glad we had the brief fling with TV, it had been so long for either Bean or myself that we’d forgotten what we didn’t really like about TV before, so it was good to be reminded. It was good to see such a huge impact on Sprout’s behaviour, which we were able to discuss with her and she was eventually able to recognise in herself. I’m glad we can now say we know rather than merely suspect that selective viewing, rather than turning on a TV and watching whatever is available at the time, works far better for our family.


*Wall decorations that made me cringe were not to my taste.

**The only children’s movie the sprogs aren’t frightened by.

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geraldton through wilde eyes

Well it’s been nearly 3 weeks since the sprogs and I joined Bean here in Geraldton so I’d like to share some of my thoughts on the place (subject to change with time and experience of course!).

I’ll get the rants out of the way first so we can end on a happy note eh?

Geraldton does not do waste well at all. There is no council recycling collection which seems so last century. We can deliver our tin and aluminium cans and our cardboard/paper to a depot but plastic and glass can’t be recycled here. To that I say,


We don’t seem to use products in cans (other than the occasional can of tuna which Bean takes to work and doesn’t cart home again) and our paper/card is added to our compost heap as the carbon component to balance out the nitrogen rich food scraps. Glass and plastic are the recyclable wastes we generate most of, and we can’t recycle them here! I suppose the positive of that is that it gives us an opportunity to further reduce the packaging waste we bring in to our house in the first place. It’s been rather a rude shock to be producing so much waste at all after our time in Albany where our milk bottles were returned for reuse, the mesh bags and paper bags our vegies came home from the farmer’s market in were returned for reuse and our honey jars were returned for reuse as well. We produced much less household waste then.

I suppose it might take time to get to know where to buy the food we’re used to eating, it did take time in Albany. The farmer’s market here is a fairy average affair, especially when compared to the Albany farmer’s market. They are really trying though, and I hope it takes off. There are likely a lot less fresh produce growers around here than there are around Albany, the climate here isn’t the greatest for growing thirsty crops, so I imagine it’d be tough to find the selection of growers there are on the south coast. Luckily I’ve already found a green grocer who sells a fabulous selection of organic fruit and veg. They have agreed to take a weekly order from us and pack it all loose into cardboard boxes since they otherwise individually wrap their organic produce so they can tell the difference between it and the conventional stuff at the check out. They also stock Margaret River Organic milk (pastuerised but not homogenised) which is a reasonable compromise when raw milk is not available. Short of having our own cow or living within cooee of my dairy farming sister nothing can ever come close to the milk supply we had in Albany. Really, how can you beat reusable glass bottles filled with fresh, unprocessed milk delivered with a smile and a genuine enquiry after your wellbeing? In short, you just can’t.

The weather has been quite lovely, real “holiday” weather. Yesterday it rained for the first time since we arrived and it was a really rather dismal effort at rain, more like a sprinkle really. We’ve been at the beach most days and at the playgrounds every day since getting here. Mornings and evenings call for long sleeves but during the day we’re wearing short sleeves very comfortably, and today is the first official day of Winter. I have a strong suspicion Summer here would melt me into Ms Cranky Pants because Autumn has been about as Summery as I can handle. Thankfully we’ll be out of here early Spring so I won’t get to test that hypothesis.

I’m really glad for the outdoor friendly weather though because the playgrounds here are AWESOME! The best I’ve seen anywhere.

At the town beach there is a fabulous playground with two main sections, one aimed at younger children and one aimed at older children. The equipment over both sections caters to children ranging in age from pre-walking to teenagers. Next to the playground is a water playground that can be turned on by anyone with the press of a button between 9am-6pm each day, yeah… even now that it’s officially Winter.

The sprogs have had hours of fun at the water playground already, it really is fantastic and unlike any other free playground I’ve seen.

And that’s just the town beach playground, the rest of the playgrounds we’ve seen around Geraldton have been fabulous too. The only thing that could make the parks here any better is a play in the park program like the one the wonderful Jamie (the Clown) and his YMCA crew ran in Albany.

Our house is not bad, not a place I’d want to settle for longer that the four months we plan to be here, but it’s not bad. We had some issues with dirty carpets to begin with and in honestly I can’t understand how on earth we’re paying so much for it because it just doesn’t seem worth it (totally foreign rental market up here) but it’s close to the beach which I’ve taken advantage of a few times when I’ve gone for a sunset walk by the ocean all alone once Bean has come home from work. It’s been nice to snatch those moments of solitude because we’re back to having no friends nearby and I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by the task of parenting the sprogs on my own for such extended hours while Bean’s at work.

Thankfully a south coast friend has put us in touch with a mid west friend and I’ll have to make contact now we’ve landed and settled, so the lonely days can be over real soon…

So far I’m liking Geraldton enough, there’s a lot about it that is awesome and it’s nice to have a change of scenery after a really tough year in Albany.



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return of the prodigal blogger

Well, well, well…

It’s been a while hasn’t it?

We’re in Geraldton now, the sprogs and I have been here for nearly two weeks. It’s been lovely to have our family all back together again.

So much news to share, so little desire to sit here typing for hours!

In a (fairly large) nutshell, here’s what we’ve been up to since the last post 6 weeks(!) ago…

My younger sister had a skate boarding accident (here’s a tip – wear a helmet if you’re planning to ride anything with wheels!) and pretty seriously hurt herself so I decided I’d head to Perth with the sprogs a little earlier than originally planned. I had hoped to help out a bit with my sister’s care since my Mum works casually and has no leave entitlements, as it turns out my sister is a terrible patient and can’t really hack being dependent on anyone so I wasn’t very useful anyway.

My elder sister came to Albany with her husband and their children to help me pack everything up, clean the house and get out of there. Words can’t describe how freaking awesome these people are!

My niece and nephew kept the sprogs well and truly entertained and helped them forget how much they missed their Dad in those early days. My sister came with her special brand of anal retentiveness and awesome cooking (I really, really don’t know anyone who cooks more amazing whole food and I’m not just writing that because I think my sister will read it either!). My brother in law revealed a skill set I was unaware he posessed when he showed himself to be the luggage tetris master. He managed to pack both kombis so full that I found myself making more “clown car” jokes than was probably necessary. My BIL also checked the kombis over for road worthiness, if I’m honest neither would really have escaped being slapped with a yellow sticker if they’d been pulled over that weekend but the major stuff was ok.

After scrubbing that house until it was cleaner that it had ever been before (well, certainly cleaner than the day we moved in to it at least), the sprogs and I piled in to Van Halen to head to Perth, and my sister drove their car which towed a trailer full of our junk while my BIL drove Brigit in convoy to their place on the south west coast where they’ll be garaging Brigit for us until we’re done here in Geraldton.

Once again my sister and her family have helped us out enormously, more than all we’ve ever done for them rolled in to one. It would have been nigh on impossible for me to manage the move and clean up alone, so I (we) are eternally grateful for the help.

In Perth the sprogs and I caught up with some friends, not as much as we’d have liked but the time we did share with old friends was lovely.

Staying with my Mum and sister was quite nice, particularly because the family in the town house next to Mum’s have a two year old daughter and a newborn daughter who both provided hours of entertainment for the sprogs. Spending time with Mum and my sister was nice too, although I felt fairly useless since I’d told myself I’d be helpful and my damned sister decided to need very little help after all!

Bean flew down to Perth a couple of weeks ago for his first R&R break and we drove back to Geraldton together a couple of days after he arrived.

The drive was smooth and fairly uneventful. Bean drove the whole way, figuring he owed it to me after I’d driven solo with the sprogs from Albany to Perth. The man’s a fool, I drove solo because it’s illegal to ask your child to take over! I’d have shared the drive if I had a willing and capable driver sitting in the passenger seat. Anyway, we left a grey and rainy Perth to arrive in a sunny, warm Geraldton and it’s been pretty much like that since we got here.

The locals are talking about how cold it is, and we’re thinking we’ve entered the endless Summer because it’s even warmer than Summer was in Albany this year.

I’ll rave a bit about Geraldton in another post, but for now I’ll leave it at this – THE PLAYGROUNDS HERE ARE AWESOME!

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Yep. That’s probably the cheesiest blog post title I’ve ever come up with.

Anyway, I believe the cheese is warranted because I have big news to share from around these parts.

Bean got a different job. He flies out to GERALDTON(!) in just one week. The sprogs and I will stay here for a few weeks to sell or donate all of our furniture and housewares excepting what we can squeeze in to the two kombis*, then we’ll follow him up.

So much to do! We have to break the lease here in Albany, so if anyone local knows of folk looking for a house** nice and close to town and the hospital please get in touch…

The Geraldton job goes for 16-20 weeks and we’ll stay in temporary accomodation while we’re there. Once it’s done we’ll be debt free!

Bring it on.


*clothes, camping gear, my sewing machine, fabric stash, Bean’s tools, some crafty supplies for the sprogs, toys…

**or anyone wanting furniture or white goods

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I haven’t blogged very much lately. My computer was in the repair shop for a couple of weeks but I had use of Bean’s old lap top so I could have posted if I wanted to. Truth is, I haven’t really felt like I’ve had very much nice to write, so I haven’t bothered to write anything. Everything I’m feeling is so priviliged and whingey, which is pretty much what this whole post is about…

Right now I feel that our life is in limbo. We are suspended in time, just waiting for the life we intended to live to begin.

Here we are, stuck in a town we never meant to live in. Even though we chose to move here as a stepping stone to moving to a town nearby (but too far to be a part of right  now) it certainly wasn’t part of the plan to stay here for a year. You see, we were just passing through.

Now, it’s been a year. We still don’t have a friendship group. We have a couple of friends, but we really need more than a couple of friends because friends get busy with their own lives and can’t possibly be expected to meet all our socialising desires no matter how nice they are. I sort of know my way around here now, and I know lots of places that are really lovely, but at the same time our visits to those places are tainted with an impatience on my part. I’m not suppose to still be here you know?

The thing is, the longer I stay here the less sure I am that I know where I’m meant to be. A year ago I was sure it was in that nearby but not near enough town, and now I’m quite unsure that’s the place. I’m left wondering if I’ll ever find my place in this world.

Our house, it’s not a home. It’s just a place we’re staying right now, while we wait for real life to begin.

I try so hard to view it as a home… it’s just that (aside from the location) the double garage, laminate benches, cheap vinyl floor, cheap carpet, aluminium window frames, the boxy legolandness of it and lack of hanging hooks on the walls make it hard to view it as my home.

Meanwhile, pinterest is like my virtual glory box. Bookmarked pictures of wooden floors (some painted white, some clear coated or oiled), porcelain sinks, weatherboard homes, stained glass windows, wooden window frames, claw foot baths, ornate doors and lovely little DIY projects wait for the day that we have a home of our own again.

It’s not just the look of this place, or the location though. Renting is getting me down. The temporary nature of it just goes against my strong desire to put down roots, to anchor ourselves to a home, a patch of earth, a community. We have a rent inspection next week too, and while I understand a desire to make sure the tenants aren’t destroying the ever so important investment property I just can’t help but bristle at the invasion of my privacy. I keep a very clean and ordered house and I feel irritated that someone else (who may or may not keep a clean home) has a right to come in to my house and judge whether we’re clean enough, good enough, to live here. I’m confident there’ll be no problem, the house and yard are in better condition than when we got here, but it’s still awful. The worst of it is that the day of the inspection is Bean’s birthday and we’d much rather be enjoying a lunch time roast than making ourselves scarce lest the sproggets strew their toys around the house as they do when they’re home.

I have seen lots of inspirational pinterest quotes lately that say things to the effect of home is where family is, or the best thing about home is the people we share it with, and while it gives me a warm glow in my heart to read things like that I find it harder to really believe it when I see the damage that here is doing to my family.

The sprogs don’t have friends to play with regularly, they’re very isolated which is terrible for them since they’re so social, much more so than I. Seeing them so lonely breaks my heart more than my own feeling of loneliness ever could. Not only are they lonely, they’re bored too and they are harder to get along with when they’re bored. They try to stir each other up and generally cause mischief.

We’re still drowning a bit in financial obligations too. The simple maths is that the repayments and other general outgoings exceed the income, and that leads to a lot of stressing for me and Bean.

We still haven’t been able to afford a new mattress (even an old one), so we’ve been sleeping on a foam egg cup mattress topper for 7 weeks now. Oh how my body just hurts. I’m feeling tired and sore, every night that goes by without a proper mattress is compounding those feelings to a point where I’ve felt that I’m spiralling down into a dark headspace, unable to see positives where they definitely exist, unable to find joy in the days spent with the sprogs. I’ve been snappy and cranky, generally a pretty horrid person to live with really.

Thankfully my dear Mum has offered to buy us a mattress, she thinks she’s just giving it to us, but we’re just adding it to the list of things we owe her for. We hope to pay her back very soon actually, because we’ve got some great plans to get us out of debt and to the end of limbo-land fairly quickly. It’ll require some hard work and sacrifices but we hope it will pay off, hey we wouldn’t do it if we didn’t would we?!

Stay tuned, when it’s official I’ll write about it…


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settled (in a fashion)

Wow! What a month it’s been.

As briefly mentioned in a previous post, we have moved in to our new place. I like to call it Legolandia. Let me describe the neighbourhood for you…

Double garage. Double garage. Double garage. Double garage…

It’s a bit soul destroying really.

Thankfully, while the view out the front is as I’ve just described, the view out the back glass doors is this.

Which redeems the place somewhat.

We have moved and unpacked (pretty much) everything. The house is huge, and we haven’t got much furniture* so the house echoes. The already noisey sprog noise is amplified, so I’m keen to get some quilted wall hangings on the walls to deaden the sound a bit – which is an achievable goal** now that I have a dedicated sewing/art room (squee!).

My sewing room isn’t properly set up yet, unfortunately it’s not been able to be a priority yet since I had some assignments to do and the more practical areas of the house to set up. Now all of that is done, and so I can get on to sorting out my fabric stash and setting up my machine. For all these excuses, since the rest of the house was unpacked and my assignments handed in I have lacked the motivation to set my room up, some days I could probaby find snippets of time to do little bits here and there which would all add up to a functional and productive space in no time, but I haven’t really felt very driven to take those opportunities.

Being in this house has been a bit of a challenge for me, particularly as it hits me that we’re staying in Albany for another year (well, 11 months now, but who’s counting huh?). It’s not beautiful. Not to me. It feels like I’m visiting someone else, it doesn’t feel like my home. I’m fully aware this is such a wanky, middle class thing to whinge about… but indulge me, please?

The yard is bare. Builder’s sand, dead lawn and some very sick looking lavender bushes. That’s certainly saying something… when do you ever see sick looking lavender bushes? Lavender is so hardy!

I’m working on it though… My pot plants all together on the back patio make that part of the yard look beautiful, and at the weekend I transplanted a heap of gotu kola into the bare space between the path and retaining wall down the side of the house. At the top of the same retaining wall I planted some native violet. I chose them because they both survive well in low light situations and that area only gets direct sunlight for around 1-2 hours per day. Soon they’ll both begin spreading to fill that space and add beauty to the view from the sprogget’s playroom. Planting the gotu kola there means I can harvest it more frequently than I have been able to harvest it from a pot since there’ll simply be more of it to harvest, and it won’t be able to spread too far since the growing space is contained by retaining wall and pavers. Out the front on a steep hill where there has been some pretty bad erosion caused by foot traffic killing the grass I also planted some rosemary (a prostrate variety that spreads to 2m and a bushy variety), with some pennyroyal (spreading) and yarrow (spreading). I want to stabilise that hill before Winter brings heavy rains that will wash all that sand down to our front door.

Indoors it is not beautiful either. The fittings are cheap and the workmanship is poor. I suppose it’s really to be expected when you build a huge house for very little money but it still irritates me that the carpenters didn’t hang the doors straight, the plasterers left gaps in the cornices and the electricians put the light switches in illogical places because it would use less wiring and therefore be cheaper. The floor is cheap vinyl, printed to look like wood. It’s torn and heavily marked in some areas, making it look even more tacky than it would have the day it was laid! Places like this seem so soul less to me. Still, as with the yard we are working on it…

We are doing what we can to make this soul less space a little more ours. To fill it with a bit of our soul.  There are some picture hooks on some of the walls, and so we print some of Bean’s photos to hang. There is a large jarrah dresser in the living area that came with the house, it has become home to my dipensary. Tinctures, dried herbs, essential oils, carrier oils, clays, ointments, creams, pure plant incense… I think it is beautiful, and it is convenient too since we use items from my dispensary every day.

I am trying to love this place as our “for now” home, and trying to think of it as more than simply a stage to wait out until a better life comes along. Some days that’s easy, and some days it’s terribly hard.

Today has been a nice day, we had rain overnight which cleared to bring us a sunny, warm day that was perfect for playing at the park which we did twice. There was more laughing than crying today, more co-operation than argument, and lots of love. The love is always there though, even on the days we all cry and argue…

We’re doing our best, I’m doing my best, to enjoy right now and to be very grateful for what we do have,  and right now that is a home that is much larger and more comfortable than the shed. Being rid of the shed is something I am particularly grateful for!



*Our mattress got mouldy at the shed so Sprout is the only person in our family who actually has a bed and mattress at the moment, the rest of us sleep on the floor!

**Provided the owner agrees to let us put some hooks up.

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happy international women’s day

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being heard

As I wrote in my last post, this week I formally withdrew from my naturopathy course. In response to my withdrawal the head of the college in Perth called me to discuss my reasons. She listened to my complaints about doing units I don’t believe in, and about the miscommunication that meant I did 3 units last semester that I was eligible for recognition of prior learning on – a total waste of money, time and energy.

She also listened to me tell her I didn’t want to be a naturopath, that I’d orginally asked to do a herbal medicine (including aromatherapy) and nutritional medicine double degree, but had been convinced to go for naturopathy which covers both herbal medicine and nutritional medicine in much less detail than the specialised degrees with the addition of a couple of units of homoeopathy and the use of homoeopathy in other units. She then offered to take a look at my previous academic records and reassess my eligibility for recognition of prior learning against the course framework for the Bachelors of Health Science in Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine. My previous recognition of prior learning assessment had been against the naturopathy framework.

The head of the college is visiting my campus in a couple of weeks where she’ll sit down with me and listen to what I want, see how we can make it work, and whether I want to make it work.

At the very least I’d like to further my Advanced Diploma of Western Herbal Medicine to become a Bachelor of Health Science (Western Herbal Medicine) with some further study, because the reality is that the natural therapies industry is changing and pretty soon an Advanced Diploma may not be enough, the standard is changing to be a degree. Down the track it’d be nice to have the degree to fall back on, should the need arise.

I still doubt I’d pursue a career as a clinic based natural therapist, but that’s just one of several ways to use a natural therapies qualification professionally, though I am interested in writing articles for industry journals and perhaps furthering my training that little bit more to enable me to lecture at natural therapy colleges or supervise student clinics in future.

Anyhow, continuing my studies is back on the table, provided it can be arranged that I can pursue the nutritional and herbal streams while leaving behind the homoeopathy. Time to get negotiating. I’m so glad I got a second opinion on the whole thing, instead of believing that naturopathy is the only option for me…

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camping disasters – an epic – part two

Continued on from here.

It was about 1.30pm when Bean left. Given that we had no mobile phone reception that far out of town I didn’t bother getting my phone out of the car when he left and I don’t wear a watch these days so I wasn’t able to keep track of time. I knew it’d take him about 45 minutes to get back into town and then at least half an hour to get a car trailer organised, another 45 minutes back out to the car and yet another 45 minutes back out the camp site, so I wasn’t expecting him back for a while anyway, no point clock watching.

A while later the sprogs were getting cold after swimming for so long and they were asking for food so I took them back to the camp site with the intention of cooking an early dinner. At the camp site I was met with several food related problems…

The ice in the esky had melted already and the food was begining to get warm.

The esky had become a temporary ant’s nest (I thought eskies were well sealed too!?).

The frypan, bowls, plates, mugs and cutlery were all still unwashed from the previous night’s and that morning’s meals, and to top it all off the dishwashing detergent was in the kombi on the side of the highway several kilometres away!

By this stage the overtired, disappointed sprogs were complaining loudly about their empty tummies so I gave them a banana each. The camp site was in the belting sun, no shade at all, so we hid out in the hot tent and ate bananas until the whole 2kgs of bananas that we’d brought with us were gone. Dinner could wait until Bean got back with the dishwashing liquid and some ice for the esky. Until then, the esky would stay closed to conserve whatever chill was left in the water that half filled it.

Sprout asked me when her bed would be made up, and I told her it couldn’t happen until her Dad got back with the air mattress pump and the bedding.

Moe asked me for more food.

I asked a passerby what the time was. Twenty to six.

Wow. I had expected that Bean would be back by then. I had asked him if he thought it’d be best if we all went, just in case he needed some help, or something came up and he couldn’t let me know about it. He didn’t think it was fair to expect the sprogs to sit in the for hours all over again, not after the previous 24 hours. I had to agree, and hope that things went smoothly for him.

At twenty to six I began to curse him. Why was he not back yet? Why was I having to fend for myself at a camp site with two cranky, hungry kids and some vital camping stuff missing from the equation?

After eating some nuts the sprogs and I went for a walk. We asked someone at a neighbouring camp site what the time was. It was 6.30pm. The man asked me if I was ok and it was then that the dam broke and a floor of tears poured forth.

No, I most certainly was not ok. My partner left 5 hours ago to deal with our broken down car, it shouldn’t take so long, he wouldn’t leave us for that long without bedding at the very least. He would have been eager to get back to us. I was very worried something had happened and I had no way of contacting him. The men and woman at my neighbouring camp site were very kind, and well set up. They assured me that sometimes things like moving cars take longer than we anticipate and they lent me their satellite phone to call Bean, but the call went straight through to message bank. He was probably out of range. It’d be ok, but oh how it felt like it wouldn’t be. I was so worried about him. My camp site neighbours called their adult daughter who lived in town and asked her to go around to our house and see if he was there, or if the kombi had made it back at the very least, then to call the police and see if there had been any accidents reported.

Finally, just after 7pm, Bean pulled into our camp site in his parent’s car. I felt so relieved, and so furious. I thanked my neighbours and went and cried and swore at Bean.

We got the air beds inflated and begged some dishwashing liquid from another neighbouring camp site. Washed up what we could, salvaged what we could from the ant infested esky, filled it with a new bag of ice that Bean had grabbed in town and put it inside the tent, safe from further ant attacks. For dinner we had more sausages and some hashbrowns. By this stage I had given up feeling stressed about the complete lack of nutrient value in the dinners we’d provided our children for two nights in a row. We warmed up some water for face, hand and feet washing then got the sprogs into bed at around 9.30pm.

Bean and I then sat down to drink a mug of hot chocolate each and take a breather and catch up on the incredibly stressful afternoons we’d both had. I cried. Oh how I cried. This is not what camping is supposed to be like! I love camping. I’m supposed to be having a nice time. I thought you were dead. I want to go home. Please can we give up now and go home tomorrow morning… Oh how miserable I was.

The tent flapped in the wind all night long, and coupled with the mosquitos that had made it into our tent, made for a sleepless night for me.

At 5am Sprout woke up crying. She was hungry and really wanted food.

Bean tried to keep her quiet but she woke Moe anyway. After much coaxing and some cursing they were both asleep again and we got another hour of sleep before the day had to begin.

Bean took Sprout and Moe to the water’s edge for some fishing while I stayed at the camp and did some journalling. They were back soon after, having given up because stress levels were already high and Bean had become sick of explaining to Sprout that fishing wasn’t as simple as casting out and reeling back in immediately to find a fish fillet at the end of the line!

Bean agreed with me that it was time to go home. Only, by that time I wanted to try to salvage the weekend. Our helpful neighbours had left and they had a much better camp site than ours, with a path right down the hill to the water’s edge and some shade too. We decided to move our camp once more, but just 100 metres this time, not 20kms! Down came the tent, and back up again.

The ice in our crappy esky had melted again so we needed to head back to the general store for more. We went for a quick swim, had a snack and all hopped in the car, hoping that the sproggets would sleep on the way there. Thankfully the sprogs slept, which was about the only useful thing to come out of that drive. The general store was out of ice. The closest place to get more was a further 25km away, turning a 40km round trip into a 70km round trip.

It was then that I proposed we admit defeat. That we go back to the camp and have some avocado and tinned tuna sandwiches for lunch, sacrifice the food in the esky to the warm-esky Gods and spend the afternoon by the water’s edge until the day cooled down a bit when we could then pack up our camp (yet again) and go home. Bean agreed. It was definitely time to give up.

Back at the camp we had our lunch, paddled for a while in the shallow, clear water of the beautiful Waychinicup inlet and then began our final pack up. We packed some, then we swam some, then we packed some more. We had the car packed and ready to go by 3pm so we went down to the water for one last swim before bidding good riddance to that particular camping adventure.

This camping trip cost us a lot financially. A couple of tanks full of fuel, with all the running about. A whole lot of good food wasted. Money spent rather unnecessarily on camping equipment that wasn’t quite right but was just a bit of a compromise because we needed something like it to go camping with and we wanted to go camping NOW. It’s put us in a pretty terrible position for the week ahead with several hundred dollars worth of unexpected costs and an unknown amount of damage done to my kombi. We don’t know if we can get away with simply having the carbies cleaned and/or replaced or whether she’ll need a full engine rebuild. Obviously we’ll begin with rebuilding the carbies and see how she goes.

Still, we’ve learned a lot and won’t make this disaster our last camping trip.

In future we’ll make sure we’re well set up with camping gear relevant to where we’re camping and what we want out of our camping experience. We’ll most definitely never take the word of other people who tell us that a camp site is “great”, and we’ll choose to camp only at sites we’ve seen for ourselves before we arrive with a car load of camping gear and heads full of expectations of a fabulously relaxing weekend. We live close enough to heaps of gorgeous places that we can make day trips to scope out the suitability of camp sites for future trips. We’ll also never take my poor kombi on a gravel road again, and we’ll never rely on duct tape to keep the air filter on either! I have to say, I’m rather fond of the idea of owning a satellite phone too. That would be very useful given that so many of these places don’t have mobile reception.

As far as the kombi goes, this is probably the nudge I needed to learn about the engine. I know enough about kombi bodies, but up until now I’ve shied away from learning about the mechanics, figuring that I’d learn when the time to pull the kombi off the road and restore her came*. May as well start with a carbie rebuild eh?

Photos from the nice parts of our weekend to follow in (yet) another post.


*The time to take my kombi off the road for restoration is getting very close by the way… Van Halen (Bean’s kombi) is probably a couple of months worth of weekend body work away from a respray and new interior then it’ll be Brigit’s turn.

posted by wildecrafted in journal,volkswagen and have Comments (7)