Friday, 17 July 2009

pat and yurty ready to go south

After a few wonderful weeks based here on the north coast of NSW we are packed up and ready to head back to Melbourne. Johanna has enjoyed the last couple of days having made a friend or two and getting involved in the variety of activities the park puts on.

It might be a bit hard to read but Johanna's first prize in the colouring comp is announced on the notice board.

The weather has been fantastic. Bright sunny days for the last few ... a bit cool only around 20 but it has been good to feel the warmth of the sun knowing what we will be back to in a couple of days.

Lots to be thankful for ... now for the long drive. (a few photos from the last few days below)

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The true story of the stinky bait

A couple of days ago Johanna complained that the car smelt like a fart. The next day I complained that it smelt like a toilet. We thought maybe it was the fishing bucket left in the back but didn't take it out. This morning we were getting in the car ready to head off and PHEW. Johanna refused to get in. Colin decided to check the fish bucket and when he took off the lid - stinkarama - the bait from two days ago was still in there (two warm days). The lid went back on, Johanna put the window down and stuck her head out all the way to the petrol station where Colin bought a nice vanilla smelling car deoderiser, Johanna hung it right next to her head.

On our excursions we found a beautiful spot in Iluka for fishing.. Oh what the heck, lets throw in a line and see what happens. The river was blue/brown and meandering, a rocky shore, grassy banks and a picnic table or two. Other people were around and the fish were biting - beautiful. Out comes the fish bucket and off comes the lid - phew - still stinks. Oh well maybe the fish won't mind rotten bait! Johanna and I won't touch the bait though. We throw in some lines and are immediately snagged, both rods. We try again, same thing happens. Meanwhile the fishers to our left and right are reeling them in and now and again the wind blows and the rotten bait smell wafts on the breeze. The old couple down wind of us look at us strangely - Johanna hears the man comment - "pooh something's dead"

We have managed to stink out the place, embarrass ourselves by continual snags emphasising our amateur status as fishers - it is time to make a swift departure. The offending bait is wrapped in a plastic bag, the fish bucket washed (along with our hands) and as we drive off we make a stop by the rubbish bin and in goes that stinky bait. Good riddance.

smells and feathers

Angling (another word for fishing)


Nomadic (Wanderers)

Guess who left the fish bait in the back of the car for a couple of days. It went off and stunk out the whole car so on the way to Iluka today dad bought a smelly thing to go in the car.
We went to Iluka to see what it was like. It was a nice town but we would rather be here.

Tonight we are having fish, potato and salad. Last night we had steak and salad, nothing like what I said.
It’s funny because if mum smells something before dinner that’s what she wants to eat that night. e.g. On Friday mum smelt pizza, that’s what we had. On Saturday mum smelt steak, that’s what we had. On Sunday we had taco’s but she didn’t smell that. On Monday she smelt steak so that’s what we had.
Last night I watched a movie in the movie room, most nights there is a movie on in a room with a projector. The movie was called Beverly Hills Chihuahua.
To tell what movie is on that night you go out to the front of the park and there is a whiteboard shaped like a surf board, each day they write the activities that are on. There are usually things like treasure hunts and art stuff. Then at the bottom it tells you the movie that is on that night. Tonight there is no movie on.

Today I took a really nice photo of a lorikeet. I really did take it, believe me.

This evening dad and I went to the jetty to watch the first stars come out. Dad spotted the first star and then I spotted the Southern Cross that's the first seven stars we saw. We sat and listened to all the sounds we could hear, lorikeets (gee they are noisy), boats coming in for the night, seagulls and pelicans. It was really lovely.

This evening dad and I went to the jetty to watch the first stars come out. Dad spotted the first star and then I spotted the Southern Cross that's the first seven stars we saw. We sat and listened to all the sounds we could hear, lorikeets (gee they are noisy), boats coming in for the night, seagulls and pelicans. It was really lovely.

These are the photos of the birds I took.

"dad took this one "

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

work and play

I started this week knowing it would involve more effort on the work front. Even though I had done some at Bryon Bay, the load was always going to get heavier this week.  The whole yurting thing will only be possible of I fgure out how to work meaningfully while being based away from Melbourne.

Realistically I am unable to do anything on operational customer facing projects. But if this is going to be sustainable then I've got to work out how to keep up my contribution while away. This is a non-trivial challenge because I have not historically done well in mixing work and beach life. There have been a couple of times when 'innocently' checking emails has cost me days of emotional relaxation in the past.

So the attitude always had to be different. It is early days but I am learning the following:

1. I cannot afford to see work as an intrusion when yurting. The choice is between working in my shorts and T-shirt in Yurty, overlooking the beach or the collar and office option, rather than a choice between being with Maria and Johanna meandering the shops and working ... if that makes sense.

2. Work matters, in fact some of the projects I am involved with are really important ones. But they are less important than it sometimes feels and seems when in the middle of them. Life matters. Spiritual, emotional and physical health are fundamental.

3. Turning on and off - being 100% engaged with the activity of the present (not wondering about another) is a fundamental skill in being able to mix work and yurting. I'm much better at this than I used to be, but still learning.

4. Taking in the beauty of the moment is a discipline. Work life teaches me to always think about the outcome, to be obsessed with the next thing, wondering about what is next. Yurting is about being, not so much about doing.

I've got L plates on ... more to come.

Pat and Yurty go east of everything

Perhaps it is the frivolity of being away from listening to ABC news everyday ... but I like being a bit childish when roaming around. So the car and caravan now have nick names. The Patrol is now affectionately Pat for short, and the caravan ... well what else but Yurty.

"pat and yurty ready to leave east of everything"

Maria commented today that there have been different 'sound tracks' for the various trips we have done. This time she has been fittingly listening to (on her mp3 player) the soundtrack for the TV series East of Everything, the ABC drama set around Byron Bay, that we really enjoyed when it was on last year.

So it is fitting that this yurting experience be dubbed - Pat and Yurty go east of everything.

Byron Bay is a great spot. Like Noosa further north, it is blessed with a headland with sweeping north facing beach so the break peels of the point beautifully. The sun had gone by the time we left, but we wanted to grab some shots of the wonderful panarama before we left ... so grey as the sky is ... these are for the memory vault.

You can see our campsite, east of everything (Byron Bay) now as the header on the website.

Sunny days are here again

After  a few cloudy and rainy days it has been good to feel the sun again. The last couple of days have been glorious, blue skies and warm. 23 degrees today actually saw me crack out the bathers and boardies. Mind you I stayed on the deck chair nice and warm in the sun while Colin braved the pool with Johanna for a bit. It felt like a lazy summer day, walking and shopping in town, lazing by the pool listening to my mp3 player; it helps to chase away memories of rain and cold. I had been thinking longingly of my electric blanket and central heating!

I like - the sun, being warm, the beautiful scenery, exploring new places, relaxing, seeing my family enjoying themselves

I don't like - waking up at 5am feeling cold and needing to go to the toilet, using public toilets/bathrooms, rain, sand/dirt on the caravan floor.

Like all things in life, 'yurting' is a mixture of pleasant and unpleasant. The last few days have been mostly pleasant, makes me more amenable to planning future forays into the unknown......

good idea

Beautiful sunny day + a swim in the pool = good idea

I had a really nice day today.

In the morning mum and I went for a walk while dad did some work at home.

We walked into town and had a look around. I had taken some of my pocket money to spend at the lolly shop and it wasn’t open so we went to a cafĂ© and had a milk shake and a cookie.

After we had looked around for a bit dad came and picked us up and took us home.

When we got home we had lunch and then I went for a swim.

It’s amazing that I’m saying this but I was hot today before I got into the water.

It was so fun. I just played around in the water for about half an hour.

It’s a lovely pool. It wasn’t the one with water slides though, I went to the heated pool. But it’s not like it was hot because it was outside.

Then this afternoon dad has had to have a meeting over the phone so I wondered around and took photos of Blue Dolphin Caravan Park. (see photos down the bottom of page)

Tonight I think we are having either pasta or fish and chips for dinner. I’m not sure yet but I’m pretty sure we’re having pasta.

I’ve had a nice time but I think I’m ready to go home now. I’m looking forward to seeing all my friends again and catching up with everything at home.

Monday, 13 July 2009

spikey fish and mouldy tomatoes

Today we had a walk on the beach and we found lots of interesting things on the sand, my favourite thing we found was two spiky puffer fish. One was all puffed up and we thought it was a sea urchin but then a little bit more down the beach we saw another one but it wasn’t puffed up. It looked just like a normal fish and it’s spikes were laying flat. We also saw some weird looking jellyfish, I thought they were very pretty, they looked like tiny little balloons, there were two different types, purple ones and blue ones. They were just like normal little balloons except they weren’t shaped round like balloons they were kind of like a cylinder and it also looked like they had been sown together at the top, they were very interesting.

We saw a couple of dead fish, oh yeah that reminds me, we went fishing for a little bit today. We were in a spectacular spot. It was down next to a lovely river with lots and birds, and just to the left there was a big bridge were cars could go over. I caught one tiny little fish, about the size of the one that Rachel had caught at Brunswick Heads. Unfortunately we didn’t catch anything else.

After we had gone fishing I went in the pool for a little bit, I went in one with the water slides, I went down one of the water slides once and then got straight out.  There was a good reason for getting out so quickly though, it was FREEZING!!! It was a beautiful sunny day and I was hot, but when I got into the water I couldn’t breathe it was so cold. Believe me, I was making little ripples around myself because I was shivering so much. It was quite scary since I couldn’t breathe but I’m a good swimmer so I got back to land soon enough.

And I didn’t go in that pool after what had happened, I went to the heated pool, which was still fairly cold but it was like a hot spa compared to the other one. I stayed in that one for a while.

Then when I had had a shower we went and got an ice-cream and went to watch the surf, and then after we had finished our ice-creams it goes back to the start, we went for a walk.

For dinner we had tacos. We had no tomatoes so I ran to the petrol station/shop just outside the caravan park and bought some tomatoes there. I wasn’t quite sure wether they would be any good since they were in glad rap at the back of a freezer.

‘how long have they been sitting there?’ I had wondered to myself.

It turns out probably a long time, when I got back we opened the packet and on the bottom of the tomatoes was mould and this disgusting drippy stuff. But we figured out they weren’t like that all the way through, so we ate the parts that weren’t yucky, except I didn’t eat much tomato in my taco, I was a bit put off.

Now mum and dad are looking at things for our trip in summer and I’m writing this, it still feels a bit lonely without the kids but I’m getting more used to it.

Sunday, 12 July 2009


A few years ago, while up in the Yarra Valley browsing shops, I came across some greeting cards that I really liked. I bought a small stack (I'd never seen them before) and bought them out on special occasions with Maria. When there recently I rediscovered the series and bought one to put up in 'yurty'. The caption read: TODAY; Life is a gift we are given. Dream of tomorrow but live for today.

Today in Yamba I found a bunch more and bought them to pepper the walls in the yurt. I've reproduced the images here but the captions are too small to read so have entered in manually below the images.

"Life is a gift we are given each day. Dream of tomorrow but live for today."

"I'm so glad you're here. It makes me realise how beautiful my world is."

"You have to have a dream for a dream to come true. "

"Don't save anything for a special occasion. Being alive is the special occasion."

"The journey of life is so beautiful it needs no destination."

If you'd like to see more of the series you can here.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Q and A

Q - How long did it take to pack up?

A - 1 hour 50 minutes. We only took 10 minutes off our time; in our defence it was raining this time!

Q - How loud does the rain sound on the caravan roof all night long?


Q - How many people can fit under one umbrella to run to the toilet block before bed, during a torrential downpour?

A - All three of us

Q - Who passed their driving test today and now has a licence?

A - Zac, Yipee

Q - Who can be bothered to cook tonight?

A - No one, pizza it is!

Friday, 10 July 2009

Goodbye Byron Bay

Today was our last at Byron Bay. Highlights include being on the beach (Surfing, walking, playing), walking through the market, eating icecream....

The Beach - we have walked the length many times, jumping over the rivulets when wearing shoes. Colin has surfed, Zac has skim boarded (a new acquisition), Colin, Zac and Rachel have body surfed, we have mucked around playing games in the sand....

The market - Yes there were lots of tie dye and hemp clothes, crystals, 'readings', but also local artists selling their various goods (clothes, jewellery, carvings, pottery, home made, home grown and organic produce etc...)

Eating Ice cream - Johanna has already given a detailed description of this!

We have entered a new phase now that the three oldest have returned home. We all miss them. Colin, Johanna and I will be the ones that end up doing most of the 'yurting' so this will be like a trial run to see how we go on our own. Also, Colin will need to do some work most days, (I will need to do only a small amount) so that is something that will become more the norm. Part of the challenge will be to find a way to make work and travelling meld while 'yurting'. In many ways these three weeks are a trial run, hopefully leading up to longer stints away in the future.

Tomorrows challenge will be to see if we can beat two hours packing up to go to Yamba (should be in the bag - seeming as the tent is already done and there are three less people to organise!)

some photos from days in Byron Bay

sunshine after all

Today instead of having thunderstorms and hail we had sunshine and warm weather. In the morning we all went to the beach, me and mum went for a walk and dad went for a walk.

Dad and I also went back in the afternoon. I played in the sand and dad surfed.

 For dinner we had fish, salad and potato.

I’ve been missing the kids a bit. Sometimes I wish they were back here.

In the morning we packed up the tent, we had to wait for the bits that were on the ground to dry, it was like watching grass grow.

We just stood there staring at the tent watching it dry.

 In the afternoon before we went to the beach I was plying in the playground, I was making up obstacle courses and seeing how fast I could do them. That was pretty fun.

 Before dinner I started to write a story, it’s about two girls who go on a camping trip together with their families.

I’m not sure if I’ll ever finish it, I hardly ever finished stories that I start.

 Tomorrow we’re packing up and moving to Yamba, I’m looking forward to going there. I hope there will be some interesting things to do there.

on my own now

Today the Rachel, Heidi and Zac left. It’s so annoying. I wish they could have stayed for another week.

At the moment dad is doing work on his computer and mum is reading.

This afternoon we went for a walk on the beach.

Tonight we are having stirfry dor dinner and tomorrow morning we are having salmon and eggs for breakfast.

 I guess it’s not that boring without the kids, but it has only been half a day since they left.

Yesterday afternoon and all through the night it was pouring with rain it cleared up today but it’s just started raining again.

Tomorrow is forecasted for thunder and hail so I guess the weather isn’t doing to well at the moment.

And here’s the good news…. On Monday it’s going to be twenty-three and sunny. I can’t wait to go to the beach that day.  

 I finished reading a really good book yesterday and now I have nothing really to do. I should have left the book for when the kids left, because I was spending so much time reading that I wasn’t playing cards with them or anything.

 I guess I’ll start a new book…. I hope it’s as good as the other one I was reading.

It’s funny, the caravan went from being noisy and full to being quiet and not lonely, but it just doesn’t feel right without having the kids around.

Anyway I’m sure I won’t be too bored without the kids.

I’ll have to try my hardest to entertain myself.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

ice cream and other stuff

Yesterday we had a pleasant day browsing around the Byron Bay market.

There were many different types of shops and stalls. There were free taste tests at food stalls and activities to do at others, it was a splendid day.

In the afternoon that day we went down to the beach and played some games like, volleyball, keepings off, corners and pig.  

 This morning we looked around town while dad worked back at the caravan park in the dining area that out looked the beach.

We went to a magnificent ice-cream place with many, many different flavours, they even had a sticky date pudding flavour.

I enjoyed a banana and cinnamon cone while mum eagerly dug into her two flavours, sticky date pudding and violet crumble. Heidi licked off her cone jam packed with two different flavours, violet crumble and blueberry. And after a hard decision Rachel decided on white chocolate and sticky date.

In the afternoon Heidi, Rachel and I went for a jog on the beach while mum walked and Zac and Dad surfed and swam.

Tomorrow is the last day that Zac, Heidi and Rachel are here. I am going to miss having them around. I expect I’ll get a bit bored with nobody to play cards with and nobody to play on the beach with but it will still be fun.

to market to market ...

We were lucky enough to be in town for the monthly Byron Bay market. We all enjoyed wandering around on a beautiful sunny Sunday morning taking in the sounds smells and sights of the stalls; plenty of locals as well as tourists.

There was lots to inspire. We picked up some local honey, locally grown organic coffee which I had sampled back in Brunswick Heads. We loved a sample taste of some peanut and lime dip which we used tonight to flavour some Thai noodles, vegies and prawns. Yum.

The girls all got free nail decoration ...

... even though it is a bit hard to see here, take it from me, they all look lovely.

The set up here at Byron Bay is ideal. Maria is on a mission to, not only find the best caravan parks, but the best spots in each. We reckon we've probably got the pick of the spots here at Byron Bay, and we've already booked a return visit to the 'perfect' spot in Brunswick Heads.

Today I spent the morning working while everyone else wandered the shops. As I did so the view from my 'office' over the serenity of the slow breaks around the point was amazing. Can't complain really.

Tomorrow is the kids last day before they fly home. Bummer.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

last days in Brunswick Heads

Our last days at Brunswick Heads were spent pretty much the same as the first few – spending time on the beach (walking, surfing, boogie boarding waves and sand dunes) and fishing. On our last day there was finally success with the rods! Three for tea, three returned because they were too small, a stingray and lots of snags, tangled lines and fun.

oh there is a fourth group to add to the hippies, yuppies and grey nomads, that’s the working class campers, usually with fold out kind of campervans and kid’s that ride their bikes around the park (usually boys). And the Yuppies are the ones in the holiday units and apartments.

We arrived at Byron Bay this morning. It was a bit strange to pack up and drive 15 km up the road and unpack! We are getting the packing and unpacking under control, a few more trips and we’ll have it down to a fine art – 2 hrs from waking up to ready to leave so far.

Byron Bay is as beautiful as I remember it. The caravan park is right on the foreshore with easy beach access. The afternoon was gloriously sunny and the late afternoon light spilling across sea and sand was breathtaking. Johanna and I saw some dolphins from the viewing platform.

It is early evening and we are all doing our usual thing – the kid’s playing cards waiting for dinner while Colin cooks. (sometimes I join the kid’s and sometimes I read) I don’t usually help in the kitchen as Colin likes to do things ‘his way’ and besides there’s not really room for two. The caravan is cosy, with dinner smells wafting at this time of the night. It is dark outside and cold now, so the light, warmth and promise of good food and loving family makes the caravan the place to be.

Lest I leave you with a false impression however– The card game has finished, Rachel is flicking Zac with a rubber band, Heidi is trying to do maths homework (VCE does not take into account holidays), Johanna is climbing over Zac who is taking up the whole seat. The noise level is rising – sometimes the caravan is too small for 6!

Time to eat…..