Saturday, 30 June 2012

It's raining, it's pouring.....

Two days of continuous rain followed by a third day of scattered showers.

This is what we have been doing;

Colin has been working a lot while Johanna and I sleep in, play ‘ticket to ride’ on the ipad (new game), read, and surf the net

Colin and Johanna have ventured into the water, other forms of exercise include running from the deck back to the caravan when it starts to rain, and walking/running along the beach to avoid being swamped by waves as they crash into the eroded bank

We have watched surfers conquer and be conquered by the large swell, driven along the coastal road and watched the huge waves crash to the shore depositing a carpet of yellow foam and seen dolphins jumping and frolicking in the massive waves.

On the not so good side…It is hard to get anything dry (not much fun drying yourself on a perpetually damp towel), we had to buy different tent pegs to anchor the tarp – the sodden ground won’t hold the usual pegs and the washing is piling up.

Not much chance really to take photographs, apart from through windows (caravan and car), though Colin did offer to hold the umbrella for me while I took a photo, only to have it blown inside out – so much for that!

Friday, 29 June 2012

beaches change

Those of you who know Byron Bay, and in particular The Pass, might be interested to know that the recent storms have changed the beach. The large swell has sent waves pounding into the top of the beach, washing away massive amounts of sand. There is currently about a 1.5 – 2 metre drop down onto the beach. Rocks we’ve never seen before are now exposed, so the once sandy sweep out to The Pass has some obstacles to negotiate down from the Clark’s beach deck.

I’m watching the first surfers of the day make their way into the water, the birds chirp in a way that I haven’t heard them over the last few days and I wonder if it signals the weather change we have been waiting for. I can even see a break in the clouds and some blue sky.

sensual stuff

I love yurting because it prods and pokes my senses.

Smells; salt and sea; aromas from the stove in the confines of the caravan have real intensity; plants, wet from the rain are fresh.

Sounds; the wind swept rain brushes the caravan, water drips from the tarp. Kids laugh and yelp outside as they play in the rain, Maria and Johanna laugh and argue over a game they are playing on the iPad.

Touch: we went for a walk in the rain and wind this afternoon, our feet were cold, the showers wiped our faces.

Sight: I survey the homely comfort inside our van. Cloths strewn, dishes in the rack, left over Turkish chicken with egg beside my keyboard: red tomato sauce, green mint and coriander and white feta … goes together so well. Maria and Pos reclined together on the bed.

Taste; Being near the salty air kicks the taste buds up a gear I reckon. And those that read this blog know food is such an important part of our yurting day … the discussion about what to cook and what flavours suit the mood, weather and activity is such fun.

It’s a strange thing. You leave the comfort of home in the middle of winter, live in the outdoors, take the weather as it comes, cope with outside bathrooms, hang out with others doing the same.

… and when the senses are booted, you know you are alive.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

arrived and then being here

We arrived yesterday, but we are not really ‘here’ until a few things happen.

Set up.

Normally a well worn routine but we hit a hurdle yesterday. Our awning got trashed in the gale at Port Fairy over Easter so since then our insurance company has come to the party and this was the first unfurling. So we unwind, only to discover that the holes were not drilled into the roller allowing us to put in the support poles. A phone call to Hardings, our caravan service company and they got onto it trying to find a mobile repairer to come and complete the job. No luck. What happens happens.

Say hello.

Wonderful to say hi to people, recognising faces from last year and warm greeting with those we know better.

Stock up.

Stock the fridge and plan for dinner … we have a little tradition where first night after arriving we do a little Jamie Oliver number with load of ginger, coriander, chilli etc and a touch of blackbean sauce with beef and egg fried rice. Always a bit different because I don’t follow a recipe, more the concept. Last night was good, but not the best we’ve done.

Finish setting up.

The second day is about fine tuning, getting all the ropes, tarps etc in place … today with the expected rain coming we got out the mother tarp and created a decent undercover area. As painless as putting up a tarp can be. Just could have done with an extra 6 inches so the water dripped onto the garden rather than the slab, which of course slopes back toward the caravan door. One of the wet suit tubs under the dripping should do the trick.

Maria goes for a walk

We have not really arrived until Maria has donned the sneakers and strode purposefully to a point, a lookout, or just a respectable distance along the sand. Check.

Get wet.

So it took until late afternoon, but Johanna and I joined the other desperates and caught some waves.

So now we're really here.

And now its back to work … report to push a bit further and a proposal to write.

Monday, 25 June 2012

looking and seeing

Claude Monet said he didn’t paint things, only colours. Surf film maker Mickey Smith says he sees the world in angles and lines. Matrix hero Neo realises his destiny when he looks past the ‘constructed world’ and sees the code behind it. Since Maria ‘stopped taking photos and became a photographer’, I watch her peering out the window, looking past the scenery and scanning for interesting permutations of light.

The sequence of hours in the car offers endless opportunities to play mind games. The obvious things to look at include the intense beauty of the colours and landscapes. But at one stage I imagined I was an engineer. (not a long stretch for my family with my dad, older brother and son all in the profession – heck what happened to me?) Instead of seeing a road I saw the handiwork of a designer and the competence of construction. Signs became someone’s manufacturing and installation skill. I wondered about the seat I was sitting on and ergonomics and upholstering expertise behind it. I changed the gears and marvelled at how some Japanese engineers conceived of this 1989 Patrol drive train that sits in a 4WD but makes it feel like an unbreakable little truck.

Clearly, too much think time on hand! But it did remind me of the power of perspective and how we all see the world slightly differently. Not only that but how we can choose to free ourselves from the perspective that dominates our thinking if we so choose. Indeed, for us, our commitment to live simply and outdoors in a caravan is thoroughly about choosing a vantage point in contrast to our urban professional way of being. And so I wonder what the world will look like, and what will become more important over the next few weeks.

... and if all that is too high brow; "Heck I hope the surf conditions are good and I can find the right head space to do all the work I need to do while we're in the winter paradise that is Byron Bay."

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Pat uncovered

Aaaahhhh. It's always a good day when I take the cover off Pat, check oil, water and tyre pressure ready for the 3 day drive up the Hume. Today was that day, in anticipation of our departure for our winter sojourn in Byron Bay next Saturday after Johanna's dancing concert. How can such a mundane task give so much joy. C'mon Pat you good thing.

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Tassie unrushed

Etihad Stadium with Conk, Fri night, very tasty Japanese beforehand. Jetstar to Launceston to join Maria and Pos Sat morning. Dinner with the Carla, Greg, Ella, Pat and Jo before they left for Noosa. Regent Theatre to watch Erin in annual dance competition, don't think I've been to a tap dancing performance before.

Up early, via Hillwood to pick up Ange, then to Railton to watch Hayden win the u15 tour, clean sweep of all 4 races plus King of the Mountain .... Very impressive. Trophy nearly up to his waist. Back to Nick's; drinks and photos before a classic and satisfying counter meal at the Ellamatta, Devonport. After being out in the crisp cold air all day, the old' surf and turf with an outstanding scotch fillet close to 10/10.

Evening drive back to Launceston. Managed to avoid adding to the extraordinary amount of wildlife road kill, but only just. Slower morning before a day meandering up the Tamar Valley. Does Tassie scenery ever fail to leave you stunned? Special to enjoy it today unrushed. Included a visit to the platypus and echidna house. Genuinely interesting.

Hit the jackpot on the weather, beautiful clear sunny days all weekend ... Even if the max temperature struggles to get past 10.

Shopped on the way home for copious herbs and spices to do some Moroccan style chicken meat balls, with fresh naan from one of the few Indian places in town. Washed down with some Brown Brother's product.

Now sitting like bloated Buddhas in front of the fire. Pausing before fancy ice cream for supper.

(check out Grandma and Little Pos doing flips on the handrails below!)