Miss goes bush. Mummy goes bananas.

What nobody tells you when you sign up for this crazy parenting caper is that this whole business of  teaching and educating your kids is a two-way street. That they stretch, extend and educate you at least as much and you can’t just sit back and rest on your laurels. Oh no! Instead you have to work hard, stretch until you feel like each and every fibre in your mind, body and spirit are about to snap and you’ll be put back together with sticky tape. At least, if my daughter is patching me up, that’s what she’ll be using.

Miss trying out her pack in her zebra onesie the night before camp.

Miss trying out her pack in her zebra onesie the night before camp.

So it was last Friday night, that I found myself driving up and down a street after dark looking for my friend’s house so I could drop Miss off for a 2 day cub scout camp. This wasn’t the sort of so-called camping where you’re living it up in a hut. Rather, they would be sleeping in tents and roughing it in the inimitable Australian bush.

Strangely I wasn’t worried about the snakes, spiders and drop bears which threaten death and panic throughout the Australian bush. Instead, I was much more concerned about the possibility of rain. I really didn’t like the idea of my little darling sleeping outside in the rain in a flimsy tent. After all, I don’t even like the dogs sleeping outside in their kennels in the rain, despite their thick, woolly coats. Just call me soft but I usually leave them inside.

Yet, I digress.Back to dropping Miss off.

Looking a bit tired but putting up with posing for photos inside the trunk of a scribbly gum.

Looking a bit tired but putting up with posing for photos inside the trunk of a scribbly gum.

It’s pitch black outside and I’m driving up and down this road trying, against all hope, to find any street numbers. I’ve been to their place once in daylight but I was a passenger, which usually doesn’t make for good recall. After a few U-turns and zero recognition,  decided to admit defeat and call for directions. There’s no shame in that. Besides, my friends are pretty understanding when it comes to my foibles and have the same fondness for me that they usually reserve for garden gnomes.

Bush toilet.

Bush toilet.

Of course, by the time I pulled over and actually called for help, I was starting to stress. Not quite a full-blown panic attack but I was definitely working on one. Although I’m often Captqain Courageous, I have some trouble with night blindness and, of course, as I start to stress my disorientation only got worse and the world started to spin and do some kind of incredible dance.

I don’t use my mobile a lot and being cold and stressed and, of course in the dark, my fingers had seized up and I wasn’t pressing the buttons properly. Moreover,  apparently my ear somehow managed to disconnect my phone all by itself. At least, that’s what my daughter said but what would she know? She doesn’t even have a phone or access to one and yet she does seem to know her way around my phone with the expertise of an Aboriginal bush tracker.

Yes, it appears that I have very wiggly earlobes!!

Anyway, when we pulled over, I forgot to turn my lights back on and I was only driving literally around the corner but there my friend was now playing sentry outside his place looking for me and then I turn up totally lost in our suburban back streets unable to operate my mobile phone with my head lights off. Talk about a Wally! All I can say, is thank goodness I wasn’t made in a factory. I would have been stamped defective and turned into landfill.

Reflections on the creek.

Reflections on the creek.

All I’ll say is thank goodness I can make yummy choc chip cookies. These have made me very popular with the scouts and their parents. Given their popularity, I’ll never have to worry about navigation again. They’ll all be looking for me!

Anyway, after my incredible success on Friday night, I dobbed Geoff in to pick Miss up on Sunday afternoon but we all went up to meet her and caught the end of closing parade.

Much to my delight, I managed to go on a mini bush walk as we picked up her gear and checked out the camp site. I really enjoyed that walk because bushwalking with my medical condition when I have fallen over and even broken my foot on plain grass, means I just don’t go. I don’t think I’ve bushwalked for at least 2-3 years. I’ve been skiing but bushwalking can present a lot more immediate hazards.

When you’re an outdoorsy scouting family, that’s quite a gap.

By the way I mention that not to whinge but to raise awareness and to remind people not to take walking for granted. It could all change in the blink of an eye!!

Heath-leaved Banksia, Banksia Ericifolia , Kariong,, New South Wales.

Heath-leaved Banksia, Banksia Ericifolia , Kariong,, New South Wales. Miss told me they collected the honey off the dew left on the flowers early on those frosty mornings.

We always need to carpe diem Seize the Day!!

As you can see, while my feet don’t always cooperate, my click-happy finger went into overdrive taking dozens of photos of these precious camping moments in the Australian bush.

Just like what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, what happens at camp, stays at camp so I’ve only had a very sketchy description of what happened. Needless to say, there was possibly more talking than walking, not a lot of sleep but a lot of fun. As usual, I take my hat off to their dedicated leaders who volunteer their time so that our kids can grow.

This Banksia bush reminded me of a straggly Christmas Tree. what with its stunning golden

This Banksia bush reminded me of a straggly Christmas Tree. what with its stunning golden “candles” and its somewhat triangular shape.

Meanwhile, I am still thinking about how I can get myself up to scouting speed. Rather than driving too much at night, I might just tie myself up in knots instead.

Her bags in the bush.

Bags in the bush.

Has your family been involved with Scouting or Guides at all? Any stories you’re willing to share now that you’re too old to get busted? Much to my disappointment, I wasn’t involved and the closest I came was going camping, was at school when I was about 15. There was quite a fuss at the time because many of the girls freaked out about having to dig a hole to go to the toilet. We were a tough bunch which also had to be reminded not to wear high heels. Golly, now there’ s a scene for a movie!

xx Rowena

PS I should point out that while it looks like this camp was held at some remote location deep in the Australian bush, Camp Kariong is only 20 minutes up the road and is in Greater Sydney.

23 thoughts on “Miss goes bush. Mummy goes bananas.

  1. New Journey

    I was lucky enough to get to go to Spirit Lake in Washington state when I was a child…it was a Christian camp outing, I still can remember how pretty it was and enjoyed all the sports, swimming and loved the time around the big fire. singing and roasting marshmallows….it was a fun time, made lots of friends…I think the only thing that was possible a danger to us was the boys in the next camp…lol we did sneak out of the tent and went tot he lake, but that was as bad as I got….Spirit Lake was destroyed by Mt. St. Helens when it blew up back in the 80’s…I loved the picture of your very tired beautiful young daughter….good pictures

  2. Tails Around the Ranch

    What a very cool outing for your young Miss. And great pics from you! They grow up so quickly but watching them grow into the people they will eventually become is quite the ride. Enjoy it; it really is phenomenal and something to behold! ❤

  3. Minuscule Moments

    We had to camp all the time as kids, due to it being far too expensive to house nine kiddies. So Im not a big fan of camping these days. I like Glamping it up with a few extra creature comforts. Having said that we all should do it at some point in our lives, Its a fantastic opportunity for the kids and I let my hubby take them Rowena. Love your bush photos and the ones of your gorgeous girl.

  4. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Laurie. I have found it quite useful to share my experiences with the night blindness. I am very short-sighted and it turnbs out that another friend of mine with specs, also has serious trouble with night blindness and actually drove through a roundabout the other night. She has a senior role at work and yet she has shared her problems with night blindness and that is catered for. I only found that out by sharing what happened and I felt so much better afterwards. It legitimised this invisible foe. That said, I usually view my foibles through my writer’s hat these days and see the pathos rather than crumbling in a heap.
    I also hope my confessions help others out there who also struggle to meet those invisible “stanards” that it’s more than okay to be yourself whatever that entails!

  5. roweeee Post author

    WE had some interesting chats before she went to camp about her identity as a girl and I guess in a sense how to portray who she is when these more defined sub-cultures suggest that you can only be “this” or “that. Miss dances doing ballet and jazz as well as musical theatre and actually goes straight from jazz to cubs. She’s academically bright and good at science but also loves fashion and has great fun drawing sesigns of various outfits and is very particular about what she wears and has a bit of flair. Loves doing nails, makeovers all that sot of thing too. As an adult, that all makes sense but it seems a bit harder to mix and match what seem to split into different groups at school. I was fairly oblivious to at of this at her age and even into early high school but she is very perceptive. She has always kept me on my toes and well and truly overtook me years agoi on so many levels.

  6. Minuscule Moments

    I think its the way with kids these days Rowena, my daughter is very switched on too. They have so many opportunities to open their young minds to many possibilities and passions.

  7. roweeee Post author

    I’m sure the Internet has opened up all sorts of things for them. I know it’s certainly expanded my world. It’s been fabulous but at times, their growth or adventures out into the world get ahead of me. I haven’t been able to make those checks and balances before they’re flown the coup. It’s so tempting to just keep them under my nose where I can keep them safe and yet at the same time, they’re so noisy, fight and my patience runs out. Besides, they’re meant to get out there. Fortunately, they’re doing scouts and that prvides a good environement to stretch their wings within a safe envirionment. My husband has suggested I do a course for parenting teens and I think that will help. I’d like to get a few steps ahead before Mister starts high school next year. Your son is much the same age. Any thoughts?

  8. roweeee Post author

    Thanks, Monika. I must admit I pefer parenting older kids as you do have more interactions and conversations, although there are the mood as well. They are so precious and yet can drive you crazy as well. I needed earplugs this afternoon. It’s been raining all week and they’re going stir crazy.

  9. roweeee Post author

    Thanks very much. Such a pity your beautiful lake was destroyed by Mt St Helens. Such a dramatic end!!
    I like that concept of sending your kids on the Christian camp and yet there’s the boys at the other camp next door. That’s almost comical.

  10. TanGental

    Cubs and scouts taught me a lot; self reliance, team work, wood craft and, er, sex. Sharing a tent with a troop of 10 to 16 year olds there’s an enormous amount a naive 10 year old can learn just by pretending to sleep and listening to the conversation – not that I understood much about trains and tunnels and so on. I had many a disaster with long drop toilets, wasps’ nests on our morning run, putting out the fire just as dinner was being prepared. I broke a toe, lost a tooth and was sunburnt so badly the Chief Scout dubbed me ‘pinkie’ much to my long term chagrin. I almost drowned too giving me an abiding fear of being out of my depth and I nearly set fire to my best friend, learning quickly the dangers of over-vigorous camp fire singing (or is that singe-ing). I still can’t listen to Ging Gang Gooly Gooly Gooly Watcha without shuddering. Yep, scouting made me the man I am today.

  11. merrildsmith

    Fun post and beautiful pictures!
    We’re not an outdoorsy camping family. I was in Girl Scouts when I was in elementary school, and our daughters were Girl Scouts for a very brief time. My husband was a Boy Scout through high school–there are some pictures of him and his friends looking very nerdy. 😉

  12. roweeee Post author

    Yes, Scouts does tend to attract the nerds and the full rage of kids on the spectrum. We love it but being very arts oriented, I also love my cultural activities and trips to the cafe as well. I’m a bit of a mix but I really do need my daily walk along the beach with the dogs and naturally it’s even better when it’s sunny!

  13. roweeee Post author

    Geoff, that all sounds fabulous and indeed a good reason why “what happens at camp stays at camp”. That scene ofyou pretending to be asleep and overhearing the older boys talk about sex would be fabulous to stick in somewhere. Remind me of one of my favourite movies: “Dead Poet’s Society”. Have you seen it?
    When I was in Year 7 and about 13, we went to my friend’s family holiday house for her birthday and bought a copy Cleo, which was famous for its sealed section back in the day. The five of us, who attended a private girls’ school add knew no boys other than brothers, did a sex survey together. We thought we were very mature. Ha!

  14. Katrina Rose Gavin

    have the same fondness for me that they usually reserve for garden gnomes?

  15. roweeee Post author

    You know how garden gnomes are sort of cute, ugly and endearing all rolled into one. I love the things but then there’s that cringe factor and I do all these quirky things but much to my surprise people, like you and your lovely hushand who really could have laughed his head off at me, are still my friend and accept me as I am and that is so refeshing. We don’t need to be perfect. Isn’t that such a release?!! Thank s for your text, by the way. Touched my heart and is very much appreciated!! Love & blessings, Ro

  16. herheadache

    Garden gnomes.
    Seize the day, for sure. I am not a huge fan of camping, roughing it, digging holes, but sounds like you and your daughter had lots of fun.

  17. roweeee Post author

    I haven’t been camping for over 20 years and while I talk it up, I’m not too sure how I’d go with the realities of it all. I’m a bit rusty these days but I do love the bush but would appreciate a real toilet.

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