Friday, November 30, 2007
For years we had just the one car & if we needed it on the mainland we loaded it onto the vehicular barge & paid a small fortune for the privilege. Naturally we didn't take the car to the mainland very often.
These days I have a little red Hyundai on the island. Theo parks his work vehicle at the marina on the mainland & collects fines because parking is at a premium, there isn't enough of it & no~one wants to deal with the problem despite the fact nearly all these people work on the mainland & need independent transport as the public system they promised us would connect beautifully with the boats doesn't! Now Liddy also has a mainland car (which I use because she still can't drive) & we have to park it a longish walk away to escape the fines. I could bus us to her usual park. lol.
We aren't stupid. We knew there was no bridge arriving any time soon when we moved here & accepted that there were certain limitations that went with our lifestyle choices. The barge & boat can be a pleasant trip, winding as they do around the islands but it does not pay to be in a hurry ~ ever!
Things are more regulated these days (aren't they everywhere?) but we have lived here long enough to have seen the barge so loaded there were vehicles half hanging over the ramps, (glad it wasn't me), the day one sank (yep, & she was empty; makes you wonder) & who could forget the joyful day the cement truck came screaming down the hill, horn blaring madly, shot straight down the barge ramp, onto the barge & almost off the other end, his brakes having failed on the downhill run! No wonder so many islanders end up a little quirky!
I'm not one for gadgets but the kettle has been leaking for a month so it was time to buy a new one. My, oh my! Wasn't that a rude shock. Serious dent in the budget. Now if I don't shop for a month (& it's been 6 weeks this time) life becomes seriously unhinged. Half my household can't use soap & relies on body wash. The other half can't stand body wash & insists on soap. No problemo if I rotate what I buy every fortnight. Not even a problem if I were talking one or two products, but no. This one wants baked beans for the carbs but that one wants spagetti because it won't give him gas & the other one prefers red salmon, red not pink. The girls won't touch any of it. You start to get the picture. I tottered round the shop mentally calculating what I could cut off my list. Not the toilet cleaner; I have 3 blokes in the house & I have a thing about the loo. Not the shampoo; Liddy's been screaming we've been out of shampoo for a month. What does she use it as? Mouthwash? Ditz takes the trolley off me. She now considers me an unsafe driver. All I want to do is curl up on the floor & go to sleep. Can you imagine the looks I'd get? Ditz would never let it happen.
Finally, finally I crawl back to the car, my wallet considerably lighter but the precious note that will buy the next lot of multi~tickets for the boat still safely tucked in my purse. Like a horse scenting the home stretch my head is up & my tail high. I put Ditz out at the marina with all the groceries & decide along the way I really don't want to walk all the way from Liddy's usual parking spot. I duck into the 7 day park. After all I'm back over on Wednesday. Ditz has her audition time. Don't talk to me about it. I am suffering serious nerves on her behalf. Ditz never suffers but firstly we got just 5 days notification & secondly they asked for a backing track. A what? Appalled I sent a frantic e~mail asking would they object if the child sang a Capella? Apparently not but now I have constant ninging as well as singing. Argh! For those who don't know ninging ( a type of humming) puts the voice on pitch. Don't ask I have no idea how this works but apparently it does.
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
We got home from camping just in time for our supervisor's visit.
With me being sick & not having shopped in over a month her choices were fairly limited. Luckily Avacados are in season so she made guacomole dip (her first time though she's watched Liddy do it heaps) & a fruit platter. Her flair & eye for colour show up even in the most mundane ways. Um, yes, that's pretty much the stunned look our science got.
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Sian in the rainforest & yes, the light really is that green.
About this point we'd run out of expletives & were saying we'd been saturated with so much loveliness we were practically overdosed.
One of the bigger waterfalls.
Weaver bird nest. There was another one on the same branch a bit higher & further out. They build colonies though 2 together is the most we saw.
Blue Crane ~ which is actually a heron, not a crane. lol. This is along the stretch of water we saw our platypus. The banks have to be soft for burrowing & the water pretty still.
Going walkies. Ditz was our photographer so there's some pretty shocking pics of Sian & I! Parts of the area are being rejuvenated & are heavily mulched ~ the barren looking areas.
We stopped for morning tea at the place below & were directed to the bottom of the garden to feed these enormouse catfish & tiny tortoises ~ that's what's causing the ripples.
The next night we scrambled into Gary's jeep to be taken down the back of his property & deep into Yowie territory to see the fireflies. We stuck Sian in the front. She has a Yowie thing. It's not that I'm a disbeliever exactly, I just think the probability of seeing one given all the noise we were making (& remember we had Ditz with us!) was extremely remote.
Hurtling round a mountainside in the pitch black along the edge of a precipice is much more Ditz's sort of thing, appealing as it does to her theatrical inclinations. There were just the 4 of us & Gary had us counting fireflies for his research & happily told us the difference between male & female flashes (the females remain stationary). This is a unique colony as two different species of firefly live cheek by jowl & Gary is trying to determine how they sort out their mating. The mind boggles at what occupies a scientist's mind!
It truly was like standing in a fairy land with little tinkerbells flitting here, there & everywhere... Then Gary handed Ditz His firefly catcher. Once she got her first one the child was completely enchanted & happily scooted round the rocky terrain in the pitch dark nabbing fireflies. She got one of each species & one female ~ grand total of 4!
It was one thing to hurtle down into the valley, quite another to get back out after the light rainfall we'd been having. The narrow track was incredibly slippery & at some point the jeep simply refused to go forward any more & began a long downhill slide. Now my dad owned property, usually steep property, so the perils of rough terrain are not unknown to us & we happily sat while Gary apologised, climbed out & hooked up the winch to winch us over the unnavigable bit. The second time he had to hoy us all out of the jeep & Ditz & I had fun teasing Sian (booga~wooga~woo) that we were all alone, deep in the bush, in Yowie country! Yeah, well, you know, we love Sian & she's a good sport.
I think Ditz enjoyed the fireflies the most of anything we did. Sian & I were too slow for her on the walks & the walks were mostly a bit long. The four hour one did her in & she is refusing to consider the Warrie circuit. I told her if she won't walk it she can't come next time & she had such a lovely time overall I can't see her agreeing to be left behind next time.
Monday, November 26, 2007
The one thing Sian, Ditz & I were really keen on spotting while we were away was a platypus in the wild. See picci ~ not one of ours.
Now for my non Aussie friends Springbrook sits in the hinterland of the N.S.W/Queensland border & is sub~tropical rainforest, amongst other things. It is also Yowie country ~ & no we are not talking sheep here. Think Bunyip. Think Big Foot. It is rugged terrain & after the little bit of rain we've had the waterfalls were all rather spectacular.
We camped near Purling Brook Falls, & I do mean camped. No trailers, campervans, caravans, just a little 3 man tent, a tarp & a gas burner. I do have pics of the camp site; I just have to get Ditz to do the downloading.
About a 5 minute walk from the camp site is the Purling Brook Falls & for the 3 days we were there we walked the circuit in the late evening. Sian was desperate to see a platypus & felt the Lord had said *wait*. I'd already been on Ditz's case because you see nothing if you make noise & sitting quietly with a pair of binoculars admiring the scenery is not Ditz's idea of fun! Sian did see something the first day but wasn't quite sure what. I picked a place further along the river & spent a frustrating hour watching big black shadows & enormous ripples but unable to determine exactly what I was looking at. This is, apparently, typical of seeing platypi. They are extraordinarily hard to spot even when you know exactly what you are looking for. On balance I think we did see platypi at two different locations. Plus I delighted Sian by pointing out the burrow ~ well I'm pretty certain it was the burrow.
These animals are notoriously shy & most people never see one. They feed at dawn & dusk, the best times for platypi spotting, which was why we were sharing space with the mosquitoes & gnats & foregoing cooking dinner while it was still light.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Friday, November 23, 2007
We play soccer down here too. It's not uncommon to find Ditz standing in the middle of the pitch *stargazing*. It's nesting season & the maggies are dive bombing everything that moves out there at present so you'll see frantic kids scuttling away from the ball with their hands whirlwinding wildly & a ballistic black & white bird hot on their tail!
Cats amaze me with their sense of balance. If I stood there I'd take the verandah down the hill with me!
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
Thursday, November 15, 2007
The NaNo is inching towards 30 000 but the Ditz & I are going away for the weekend to Springbrook. Three days with a friend! We hope to do the long all day walk & see the firefly caves. The bugs should be in their luminesent stage now & glowing in the dark like Tinkerbelle. I am still wogy & not sure how well I will do but we have been planning this for months & I wouldn't miss it for the world. I'm borrowing Libby's camera ~ if I can find it, so piccies when I get back. Basically this is Ditz's graduation treat because being homeschoolers we don't do dances & stuff. I mean, people do, it's just we don't.
Seeing as the cat was a psychotic mess after yesterday, when he was the only one left in the house (even Dearest was out all day) I can't think what state he'll be in when I get home. Two concerts for Ditz yesterday & full on rehearsals. Would you believe it, the child was perfectly happy & not the least bit tired?! I wish I could get that sort of focus & concentration for her school work.
Monday, November 12, 2007
It's true I do not have a mind that deals well with the prosaic mundane matters of life & just at present it is fully occupied with things that do truely interest me: my book, which has just developed some intersting & intriguing twists, & my research on Solomon's Song of Songs. This silly fluey thing that just will not go away & matters of food consumption do not interest me in the least. Unfortunately they will not go away. I truely resent the time I loose dealing with these boring matters, particularly as I am a very slow writer & a brilliant procrastinator. Now why can't I be satisfied procrastinating with matters that need doing & bore me? Good question.
Saturday, November 10, 2007
Meanwhile, in the real world the rain is coming down in bucket loads & the cat is having a meltdown. Unfortunately he is having it all over me & as we are going into summer & he is a double coated animal I am staring to feel like I am growing a fur coat, he has shed so much fur over me. I am running a raging temperature & do not need a fur coat. No wonder the cat's psychotic.
The fight for the computer is on! I am only at 10 000 words ~ not enough. Ditz has 3 000. I am so chuffed. Not because Ditz is into something I am into (though that's nice too) but because this is the child who hates writing & turns it into a major drama any time you ask her to write anything & procrastinates like nobody's business. Whether she gets to 50 000 or not is so not the point. The point is she is motivated to write ~ lots & lots & lots.
Now I just have to figure out how I get my novel written!
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Pern is that wonderful world where humans who bond with dragons hear them telepathetically & ride them ~ & there is a Harper Hall; I'm very fond of the Harper Hall.
The trouble with my in jokes is that I'm often the only one who gets them, so I thought I'd share. Laugh if you like. Remember I haven't asked you what strange fantasies you indulge in when no~one's looking. Perhaps you don't. Now I would find that very sad. Fantasy is a wonderful gift; It touches the mundane with magic.
We moved to the island with 3 small children at a time when most of our roads were still red dirt & our one tiny shop sold everything from gas to postage stamps. If you wanted a social outing you went & collected your mail. That's where everyone gathered to chat & pass the time of day. It was an incredibly laid back lifestyle except for the fact I had 3 livewire boys.
Forget tags like ADD. They were boys & they behaved like boys have always behaved; insanely. They would slip their seat belts as I drove off down the street & proceed to jump up & down in the car like monkeys, screaming their heads off. Progress was halted while I strapped them all in again but we are talking children who were able to remove with their bare hands the plumbing caps we put on with a wrench so we're talking escape artists extraordinaire here! By the time they were 3 I was putting them out of the car if they wouldn't stay stapped in & making them run home behind us. ( We are talking completely empty roads here with NO traffic, so all I got for my efforts was 3 exceptional long distance runners!) To say I was a distracted driver would be to put it mildly. It also explains why I toddled everywhere. Speedy gonzalos was not for me.
We had been on the island for a whole fornight. The rain had finally stopped; the boys had stopped puking because they didn't like the water & the sun was shinning. I put everyone in the car for a quick trip up to the shop.
Now as we turn onto our main road that runs the full length of the island there is a patch of Malaluka swamp on either side of the road & consequentially a large number of trees. In season wood ducks parade constantly from one side of the road to the other, all their chicks in a row, as well as all the other water birds & whatever else wants water. With littlies in tow it was always a place to slow down so they could see whatever was to be seen but this particular day we got more than we bargained for.
I was just starting to pick up speed so we could make the hill when a black flash caught the corner of my eye. I slammed on the brakes as it disappeared under the car only to re~emerge a moment later on the other side in a flurry of beating wings. Never before or since have I had a whistling kite make a kill under my moving car. We pulled over so we could watch him find a tall tree where he could roost & mantle his prey.
I have run over carpet snakes the size of speed bumps, watched osprey catch mullet so big they can't get airborn, seen turtles sunbathing on their backs & dolphins play with my children but for sheer bravado the big raptors take the cake. I have a thing for these big birds riding the thermals & the way they plummet through the sky like a meteorite. Sadly we are seeing fewer now. They like big dead trees to nest in & of course these are the first ones people pull down & round here people tend to replace the ironbarks & scribbly gums with palm trees, which are really useless things & provide no shelter for out native birds.
Sunday, November 4, 2007
These are the men who crab the Bering Sea during what may very well be the shortest crab season in the world. I know it is one of the most dangerous. This is a show I have to walk away from. I just find it too distressing. Last week one of the boats went down Out of 6 crew members only one survived & three were never found. Within hours another boat lost a man overboard. Without a life suit you get exactly 3 minutes survival time in the water. Besides, the sight of all those big seas & heaving decks makes me sea sick without getting anywhere near the water.
The crabs bring extraordinary money but I wouldn't eat one if you paid me & no crab, however tasty, is worth a man's life. Men are most extraordinary creatures. I know Dino would dearly love to try this. I pray God he never gets the chance!
When we built our house we very deliberately left as much of the native bushland as we could which means some of our trees are enormouse. We have a big eculypt at the corner of our bedroom & in mating season our resident Mopoke likes to sit there & call ~ for hour after hour. Now if you live with lots of wildlife about you very rapidly get used to the various noises they make & sleep soundly through even the most raucous matings ~ unless it happens to be a Mopoke.
This bird has an extremely unattractive habit; when looking for a mate it only gives half it's call. We hear a questioning , 'Mo?' & then a long agonizing wait. Eventually from the other side of the bay, down by the jetty, a lonsome bird answers, 'Poke!' 'Mo?'............'Poke!' Guarranteed to keep even the tiredest anxiously awake in the throes of unrequited bird love.
These are our smallest owls but they gave me one of the biggest shocks of my life. We hadn't been living here long & watching a harvest moon come up over the big island to the east of us was still an amazing novelty. I'd turned of all our lights, the better to enjoy the moonlight, when a dark shadow blocked the light. There was a great thwamp against the flyscreen & an almighty flurry. The mopokes were hawking moths (attracted by the lights) off our flyscreens! My heart was in my mouth by then & I was reaching for the broom to fend off invaders. Yep, I felt pretty silly waving a broom handle at a pair of hungry owls.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Saturday we took ourselves off because I had had an e~mail from the ensemble people about Ditz auditioning & I'd just about fainted. AUS 375 per term!!!! This is a sizable fortune for people like us. For the life of me I couldn't see how we could afford it despite also knowing it is really, really good value for money. The sort of training Ditz would get is professional & not something we could get on the island. I'm also used to the Lord dropping explosives in my lap then telling me not to panic & trust Him. Ha! I was panicking all right!
So we were two in agreement & where two or three are gathered together...
So we went to prayer. I felt the Lord was saying yes; The Raven said ''the Lord said, I will lead you & guide you in the way you should go.' All very nice but there are practicalities to these things & money is calculated to a nicety in this house. Besides the child is up to her eyebrows in things as it is. Just the same I know the Lord has been giving us everything we need just when we need it, especially music things, which are really rare on the island but every single time Ditz has needed something it has magically appeared, from music teachers to instruments. Now I have a mainland car (thanks Lid) & this is still local.
So I approached Dearest, who is the 'Money Man'. I do the week to week juggling & I can save, which Dearest, bless his little cotton socks, can't do at all, but Dearest is the Planner & calculator & if there was a way then he was the man to find it. Frankly I had given up before we'd started, regretfully but I just couldn't see it happening, & Ditz, who didn't dare hope & was terrified of voicing dissappointment, was skulking about with her ears flapping in the wind any time the word 'money' got mentioned. I left Dearest to it not expecting an answer any time soon but he got back to me within hours having found a way to do it & also convinced the Lord wants our child properly trained. I am gob smacked. Dearest sees it as an investment & as he pointed out, I'm the one who will be stuck with dragging the child hither & thither. I can see me getting a lot of reading done.
I am still terrified. Seriously, what a responsibility God has given us trusting us with the training of this child & what if she is a brilliant musician but sacrifices her soul in the process as so many have done?! I don't like roller coaster rides but I think God does. I'm hanging on for grim death & He's going Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaargh!
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
Nothing could show how different Liddy & I are in our thinking than where we chose to sit along the boardwalk. Liddy chose the closed in view of the malaluka swamp because it makes her feel secure. It just makes me feel claustrophobic so I sat where I had the widest, most open view & then exclaimed over the variety of wildlife I could see ~ moor hens, ducks, egrets, a frill~necked lizard, jumping fish (Liddy thought I was making them up) crows, naturally. Liddy doesn't move past the general impression that her surroundings are pleasant so I was driving her quite nuts.
What we did agree on was the food. We agreed the roast pumpkin salad sounded heavenly (aren't you glad we didn't let you come Ditz? Pumpkin! Yum!) but so did the chicken in Djion mustard & white wine sauce so in the end we ordered one of each & shared the meals between us. By the time we got to dessert our waitress wanted to know if we were sharing those as well. We didn't, though we tasted.
We had a really lovely time but then Liddy & I generally get along quite well together. Working in retail has made her super chatty & she was having such a conversation with our waitress that I thought she actually knew the girl. Meanwhile the drinks waiter turned his back on me & flirted outrageously with Liddy which so cracked me up because Liddy was completely oblivious & I knew she was. Poor boy. He was so wasting his time. Liddy's the super fussy sort.