Saturday, December 19, 2009

Summer 09

It's frightening to realise that we are about to start our second decade of the 21st century and still the powerbrokers of the corporate world have such a stranglehold on our polititians that no real gain has been made on tackling climate change. What future will there be for our grandchildren and further generations, let alone the dwindling populations of "lesser species"?

But doom and gloom never got Eeyore anywhere, and it's summer time in my little neck of the woods (only the woods kind of disappeared millenia ago if they ever existed here at all!) so it's all about ocean swimming, lying around in hammocks reading books and sipping cold refreshing drinks, and contemplating torturing my body with more aerial acrobatics out on the waves.

We've had a strange windsurfing season so far, with little in the way of decent swell, but some pretty blistering winds. I cannot quite believe it myself, but on Wednesday I was out in 35-40 knot winds, with Thursday being just a bit lighter at 30-35 knots!! Yes the muscles are complaining, but I am still upright, although highly prone to collapsing into said hammock! And no, I haven't been trying any forward loops this week - holding on has been the main achievement..

Every year at this time I pack the camper and take the kids up the beach for a few days camping. We survive on BBQ sausages and cups of hot chocolate, go for long walks with Hazel, snorkel around the reef, and build elaborate sand fortifications, which usually involve burying a kid or two in the process. I'm taking all three this year (they are the neighbours' kids, I haven't suddenly produced a gaggle overnight!) which shall be quite interesting, as the only way I've been able to command total obedience over the youngest little mite is through pure terrorism tactics. Nothing a good dunking can't sort out!!

I'm surprised, but gratified, that the fourteen year old still wants to come, as I thought she'd find a few days up the beach with the younger siblings too, YAWN, boring!! But no, she's as keen as the others to leave mum and dad on their lonesome for a few days and hang out with yours truly. I guess it's the novelty of not being with mum and dad, or the lack of rules, but I feel really fortunate that they want to come, and that their parents trust me with them! OK, there are 4 rules: get up when it's light, go to bed when it's dark, eat when you're hungry, and no swimming when I'm out windsurfing. If the final rule gets broken, they go home! It's worked for the last five years, let's see how we go with our little tearaway....

Now it's time to go up there and get a good campsite before the hoards from Perth arrive..

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Of mice and maggots

It's the time of year when we are visited by the wrath of (insert your preferred deity). Not only must we endure stinking hot humid days when the mercury veers well over 40, often accompanied by a wind straight from the furnaces of hell, but it's also time for the annual mouse plague!

Once the wheat harvest is in those hungry mice leave the fields and attack us in our homes. I wouldn't actually mind so much but they stink! My sensitive nose always knows if there are mice around, which in this case means throwing the karma out with the baby and laying down bait. Now if they didn't leave their filthy droppings everywhere and learnt to smell nicer....

I am also being visited with an attack of the guilts, having only just realised in the last week or so that I haven't seen mum since before my OS trip, which means about 18 months, and that I probably should have gone home for Christmas this year. "Home" is Canberra, and since all the siblings also live on the eastern seaboard there's little likelihood I'll ever be hosting the family gathering. I've now left it too late to get a half decent airfare, and I've already promised the kids next door a camping trip, so sorry mum, maybe next year. We're on the phone to each other all the time anyway...

The garden is thriving since I erected shadecloth over the vege plot and am keeping up the watering. I'm harvesting lots of salad greens, some yummy strawberries, and some equally delicious cucumbers. The tomatoes are continuing to produce, with new plants nearing ripening whilst old ones shrivel. All self seeded too!

Sally and Sheridan came round last weekend to erect the large shade sail, which protects the front verandah without compromising the stunning ocean views. And keeps the interior cooler by 5-10 degrees. I also snaffled an old Holland blind from our local Freecycle group, cut it to size and dressed the bathroom window. This blocks out a massive amount of heat hitting the eastern walls in the morning and makes showering in summer less like enduring a sauna.

Then there's the blowflies. Ah yes those hot easterlies are laden with flies looking for new homes, laying their little eggs in amongst the chook droppings and giving the girls some added protein in the form of huge succulent maggots. I'm actually quite enjoying mucking out the laying boxes to find small handfuls of these delicacies to feed the girls with. I'd rather them than the mice!!

We've actually had an excellent week of windsurfing, with howling winds all week, though the waves have been a bit small.... I've had a few half hearted attempts at trying forward loops, but maxed out winds are perhaps not the best time to try flinging oneself over the handlebars!! Back to watching the video methinks....

I have meanwhile been planning my next Indonesian odyssey, this time a mere month of travel between Jakarta and Bali in March/April next year. I'm keen to visit not only the famous Hindu and Buddhist sites of Java but also some of the less visited temples and (oh surely not!!) climb a few more mountains and volcanos. Java has quite a few to choose from besides Bromo in the east so I've got my work cut out for me to bag some more mountains. Damn, I'm going to have to start hill training again.....

Following from my previous post, we are now being amused on a daily basis by Tony and his bunch of troglodites suffering from severe foot in mouth disease. Did Tony really think he could get Barnaby to pull his head in?? And didn't Tony's mother tell him to think first before he opened his mouth?? It's certainly making me laugh anyway..