Friday, 31 December 2010

Settling in

Dinner is done and the kids have disappeared. Colin and I are in front of our computers, deleting junk emails, catching up on the news etc... Dusk has given way to darkness. I will be glad to fall into bed tonight, my calves are letting me know that they are not happy with all the walking up hill from the beach to the caravan park and my arms are not happy either with all the lifting and carting of surf boards not to mention attempts at paddling.

Colin, Johanna and I suited up and headed out early to catch some waves at our local beach. (the one at the bottom of the hill) Johanna and I have decided we don't like this beach - not great for beginners, pretty frustrating really, a lot of effort with nothing to show for it. We fared better this afternoon at Pambula Beach. That is one good thing about Merimbula, there are a number of beaches all facing different directions, so one of them is usually OK.

One of the things we have decided to do this time away is to instigate 'happy hour'. For Christmas we received cocktail shakers, recipe books and plastic cocktail glasses. Last night we made non alcoholic drinks for the kids (and ourselves) and tonight we took our gear around to Phil and Carol's holiday house (Colin's brother) and progressed to Pina Colada's. The next two weeks are looking very interesting in the cocktail department.

Johanna has been returned, Rachel, Jess and Tyla are off again. This is the evening ritual. The oldest and youngest will now head off to bed and the teenagers will 'hang out' for a while before falling into bed also. Fresh/clean air, exercise, fun, good food and drink - all make for happy, contented and tired bodies. Can't ask for much more than that on holidays.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

so far ...

Christmas Day – family, fun, food, relaxed

Boxing Day – Packing, sorting, hitching up the van, happy anticipation

Travel Day – 6am start, 8 hours of driving, crappy breakfast at McDonalds, better lunch in a cafĂ© watching the rain solidly fall, ‘teenage’ music (not bad really), ‘old people’ music (all the non ‘old people’ promptly fell asleep), arrive, set up, shop, fall into bed (old people that is, plus Johanna, teenagers off to do their thing, curfew 10.30pm)

First Day – breakfast, sunscreen, beach in the morning, attempts to surf (no go), lunch, sunscreen, different beach in the afternoon, boogey boards and body surfing, extended family, shower, shop, drinks, dinner, fall into bed (oldest and youngest again, teenagers off doing their thing)

Second Day – Time to slow it down, short walk on the beach, breakfast, sunscreen, girls head into town to shop, Old man stays behind to surf, Old man picks up weary shoppers, fixes broken fin on surfboard, girls to the pool, lunch, sunscreen, beach (on shore breeze, choppy, messy, strong waves, no good for surfing but fun to play in), lazing in the sun, wind blown, Colin and Johanna dragging me into the sea to experience how refreshing and exhilarating the cold water is – two minutes is all the refreshing and exhilarating I need! More laying in the sun, shop for dinner, Colin and I sitting in the late afternoon sun enjoying the view, showers, mocktails, dinner….

And that's it so far......

Merimbula Beach caravan park sits atop a cliff overlooking the sea. A short walk and this is what we can see....

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

sniffing the place out

The first day in a new place has a familiar pattern. Shop for supplies, check out the beaches, and generally get our bearings. And so it was today.

After rain for much of the trek through the mountains, we were relieved to find Meriumbula dry, if unusually windy. But this morning bought the comfort of clear skies and sunshine so all was well for the thousands of holiday makers who park themselves in this little corner of heaven (Eden is just down the road) for some summer fun.

The best of the swell (perfect rolling waves off the point at the end of our park - spotted on my pre-breakfast walk) were pretty much gone by the time we got onto the beach mid morning.  However, we had a good and tiring day with much of it spent with (my brother) Phil and and Carol along with their family. They have been regulars at a place a few minutes walk from here with a view to die for. We went back there for happy hour before we fed our weary bodies: haloumi, tomato and basil salad with some fancy bangers.

Rachel and her friends Tyla and Jess have disappeared for their evening talk fest and Johanna, Maria and I are fighting to get to the end of the day ... some serious shut-eye is not far away.

More reflections to come when the routines afford us some reflective space ... its amazing how the day feels busy when you don't do anything except eat and go to the beach.

Sunday, 26 December 2010

eastward bound

Its Boxing Day. Zac will spend it at the MCG, Heidi will continue her preparation for an adventure in Thailand. Maria, Rachel, Johanna and I will be throwing our gear in the yurt. Our urban duties done for the year, its time to switch off, pack the leather shoes and collared shirts into the wardrobe and close the door. The coast beckons, this time Merimbula on the far south coast of New South Wales, a lazy 9-10 hours drive for our rig.

Two of Rachel's friends; Jess (who was with us for a bit last summer) and Tyler will make the trip with us. After New Years in Melbourne Zac and Heidi will train and bus across and we'll have a week all together before Heidi leaves on her first OS trip.

Under the Christmas tree for me, was a new live album from the Waifs. Our old favourite and iconic yurting song 'Take it in' played in my head-phoned ears this morning while I finished off some ironing (those shirts to be stored) before everyone else rose. The normal meaning I've associated with the song has been in relation to good times. I thought of it differently this morning.

This Christmas had a different feel. The day was deeply enjoyable on many levels. It also had an under current of sadness. Heidi's pain in Glenn's absence was always there. She laughed and celebrated with us on the deck, and lay still and sober in her room in between.

As the lyrics go:

"Take it in, now is the time that will not come again."

Everyday, whatever the circumstances and emotion, "will not come again". Everyday, we are invited to live deeply, to enter into the opportunities to love and experience fullness of life. Not every day is one of unbridled joy and 'blessedness', the feelings I have previously associated with the Waifs tune.

It is timely to remind myself of our yurting mantra as we leave:

"Don't rush.

Don't complain.

What happens happens."

There is so much to 'take in'.