Categories
Travels

5 delights and 5 downs of coming home

You all know what it is like to come home after a holiday.

The Downs List:

  1. Traffic. We hadn’t seen a traffic light from Mildura to Portland, but we knew we were coming home because of the traffic and the traffic lights and the frustrations created by silly drivers.
  2. Cleaning etc. I have done 7 loads of washing; we have washed the van inside and out and vacuumed the floor and other dust traps; we have been shopping to restock the fridge and pantry.
  3. Not going to sleep with the sounds of frogs and not waking up to the sounds of birds.
  4. The way the holiday retreats so quickly. I am immersed in my usual activities and the Big Sky Country of Menindee seems so far away.
  5. Not being able to travel in the car for hours and watch the bush go past. I know that for many this would be on their “Delights List”, but I love the long distances. I watch the changing environments and see the large raptors wheel across the sky. I read the map and enjoy the little towns we pass through. I think about all manner of things, especially those profound thoughts that are there one minute and gone the next!

So to the Delights List, the things I have missed:

  1. I am close to friends and family again; I am not relying on emails and Facebook and phone calls to keep in touch. I can bore tell my stories and show my photos and catch up with their lives. (However, #2 in the first list does make time a little difficult!)
  2. I have my painting to start. The beginnings are always fun.
  3. The toilet is much closer than in a caravan park ~ very important in the middle of the night!
  4. Stretching out on the couch!
  5. Delighting in the flourishing Spring garden. I am going to leave you with a gallery of the flowers and greenery in my garden.

What would be on your lists?

Categories
Travels

The Grampians — Mt William

The Grampians, from Mt William (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
The Grampians, from Mt William (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

Mt William is the highest peak in the Grampians, so it has a telecommunications tower on top. This means that there is an access road up to the top. However the road is not for mere (unfit) mortals like the Fella and me to drive up! We had to walk. The advantage was that it was a road, and so no rock hopping. (More of that in another post.) The disadvantage was that the incline was fairly constant for all of the 1.8 km we had to walk.

The cairn at the top said that the road was built in 1963. It was quite possible that when we camped in the Grampians as a child that we drove all the way up to the top.

I stopped often, with the excuse of taking photos of the lovely views and wild flowers. Really I was just letting my heart rate settle a little! As you enjoy the photos, think of the effort I went to, just for you!

 (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
(photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Looking North (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Looking North (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
The Grampians, from Mt William (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
The Grampians, from Mt William (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Looking back to the car park. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Looking back to the car park. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

 

 

 

Categories
Birds Travels

More adventures with Alice, in the Grampians

The Grampians, from Mt William (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
The Grampians, from Mt William (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

The Fella and I are off having adventures in Alice the Caravan. (Want to know more about Alice? Have a look here.)

The Grampians are a rugged national park in Western Victoria, and are very spectacular.

 (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
(photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

Halls Gap is the main town, and its main purpose is tourism. However, it is still a pleasant, informal town. We are staying in a caravan park 4 km south, just below the wall of the Bellfield Dam. The Lakeside Tourist Park is a great place to be. Forget the word ‘tourist’, which in my mind conjures up images of over organisation, like a theme park with caravans! This caravan park is not like that. It is a friendly, relaxed place with great amenities. I especially enjoy the individual shower and toilet. Often showers are cramped, so it was nice to have room to spread out! And delicious hot water too 🙂

It also has a dining room/kitchen complex and a TV. Not having a TV has been great, but I did appreciate watching the footy on the one here last Saturday. I just didn’t appreciate the result!

I have also loved having wild life close by. While the kangaroos only come into the camping area at night, there are dozens of them in the grassed areas around us. I saw a paddock the other side of town that must have had around one hundred in it.

I counted 40 kangaroos in this photo. It is an area next to the caravan park.  (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
I counted 40 kangaroos in this photo. It is an area next to the caravan park. (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

 

 (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
(photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

 

This kangaroo is eating in someone's backyard. Can you see another one having a lie down next to the garage?  (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
This kangaroo is eating in someone’s backyard. Can you see another one having a lie down next to the garage? (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

There are also sulphur crested cockatoos wheeling and screeching around the sky. They fly in large flocks, the hooligans of the bush. They are noisy and can be destructive, but I find their cheekiness rather endearing.

Sulphur crested cockatoo, sitting on the awing of the caravan.  (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)
Sulphur crested cockatoo, sitting on the awing of the caravan. (photo copyright: Anne Lawson, 2013)

I have seen currawongs and magpies, little scrub wrens and finches, and some rosellas. And the wild flowers have a special place for me. But more of them soon.

I hope life is as good for you in your part of the world. 🙂

 

Categories
Travels

Introducing Alice

For our first trip to Menindee the Fella and I decided to camp in a tent. We scoured camping shops to find the right one. For me the main consideration was that it be easy to put up and take down. We eventually found one. October came, we packed everything in the back of the ute and took off. Well, the result of us camping in a tent was to decide to buy a caravan!

My main memory of why is of the packing up. We would begin early and still be putting things in boxes, taking them out of boxes and getting frustrated with each other, while caravans smoothly hitched up and went on their way. Also there was no proper lighting in the tent, and that didn’t help either. Thank heavens for the back lighting on my iPad.

The tent
The tent (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)

So Alice the Caravan came into our lives. We looked at lots, in fact an overwhelming number. We quickly decided that we didn’t need three rooms in the van, nor a washing machine. I decided that I didn’t like most of the interior decoration and colours. You know how it is when you are looking for something, nothing seems right. Then a friend told us to look at a van in the front yard of a place near him. And there was Alice!

Alice at the Flinders Ranges
Alice at the Flinders Ranges  (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)

Like us, she’s not young, but loves an adventure. She doesn’t have an indoor shower or loo, and sometimes, at night, that’s a nuisance. Nor does she have a washing machine. But she does have a little wardrobe with a mirror, and lots of cupboards, a microwave and a dinky exhaust fan over the stove. Everything is very compact. When we are sitting at the table we can reach the sink and the fridge without getting up!

There is a good light over the table. It is a great place to sketch and write. And her crowning glory is her colour scheme — light blue and grey. Not the horrid salmons and pinks of other vans. She has the cutest little blue curtains, with ruffles along the top. Awww…..

On the road. An art-farty shot of Alice travelling behind us. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)
On the road. An art-farty shot of Alice travelling behind us. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012
The view of Copi Hollow Lake, Menindee, taken out of the window.  (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)
The view of Copi Hollow Lake, Menindee, taken out of the window. (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)

Why did I call her Alice?

After my grandmother. My grandparents were early caravaners. My grandfather made his own and took the family away to have adventures down at the beach or up in the bush. My grandmother loved travelling, and nothing would faze her.

“Alice, let’s go to the beach,” Grandpa would say, and Nanna would pack up the van and the kids.

Her spirit is strong in Alice the caravan. The name seemed right, from the first time I thought it. I love the idea of saying to Alice the caravan “Let’s go to the beach…the Grampians…Menindee” and her saying back “Yep, I’m ready. Let’s go.”

So let there be lots more adventures!

Alice's name is the icing on her cake. This was cross stitched for me by lovely sister.  (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)
Alice’s name plaque always brings a smile to my face. My lovely sister cross-stitched this Christmas present for me. :))    (Photo copyright: Anne Lawson 2012)
Categories
Odds and Ends

Easter is…….

In Melbourne, Easter is the beginning of Autumn. (I wonder what the season is for the Wurundjeri people?)So for me Easter is the time to enjoy the cooling weather, the crisp mornings, the shortening days; to notice the beginnings of Autumn, the turning leaves, the ripening pumpkins, to think about Winter veggies. To hear the magpie call in the morning.

It is also the time of regret — putting away the sandals and pulling out the socks and boots; putting away Tshirts and cotton pants and pulling out jumpers and coats and scarves.

IMG_4059

Easter is holiday time — in fact the last time until Summer comes around. For me Easter is being at Eildon, at Somers, up in the High Country or on the Murray River. When I was a child we would often take off in the caravan, perhaps to Bright or to Wilson’s Promontory. But where ever I am, it is being with family and friends, loved ones all.

Easter is also about being at home, like this year. Easter is the being of the term holidays. When I was a teacher I loved the chance to wake up slowly, to read in bed (I still love that!), to paint all day, to see movies with friends. (I still love those things too!)

Easter is a time of reflection. It is a gentle time. New Year is too hot too really think about the coming year, to set goals and make plans. There is something about Autumn that makes me more introspective. This is the time when I muse on my life and the lives of others. I think about where my year is heading, what I would like to achieve.

(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)
(Photo copyright: Anne Lawson)

If you have followed my ramblings this far, you will have noticed what Easter isn’t for me. It is not a religious time, but it may be a spiritual time. For me there are no church services, but I recognise that for many people that is important. Also Easter isn’t a time of chocolate. I will eat it if it is there — I helped my partner demolish an chocolate bunny! But I neither demand nor crave chocolate. Sometimes I buy eggs, sometimes I don’t. I would have bought a chocolate bilby if I could have been bothered to find where to get them.

However, I have to admit that when I was a child I drooled over those really fancy eggs. You know the ones. They are large, and the chocolate looks like it is really thick. They have flowers and swirls on them, and often Happy Easter written too. Then they are done up in cellophane. How I wanted one — but never got one!!

On the other hand, I remember one year I kept an egg way past Easter, to see how long it lasted. Unfortunately my experiment was foiled (very punny!) when my brother ate it! I was not a happy little bunny at that point.

I hope your Easter was a good one, and that you got a chance to chill out with those you love. 🙂