Tag Archives: camping

Dancing in the Moonlight…Friday Fictioneers.

David was joking when he’d asked ballerina, Vanessa Rossi, away camping for the weekend. Never thought she’d agree. Moreover, when she arrived flagrantly overdressed, he was relieved he’d also booked into a hotel.

“You can take the girl out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of the girl,” he laughed.

Vanessa smiled, sipping champagne while David wrestled unsuccessfully with the tent. Once a Scout, always a Scout, Vanessa could pitch a tent blindfolded. However, she said nothing. He was her Prince, and she was his swan. Enthralled, they danced around the crumpled tent in the moonlight.

….

100 words

I was fiddling around with this one for quite awhile tonight and feel it has good potential as a short story. It was actually inspired by a story my husband tells of a school camp trip when this group of trendy girls had an expensive, upmarket tent but didn’t set it up properly and it fell over during the night and the boys had to come to the rescue. I haven’t had much camping experience myself. However, I was driving across the Nullarbor Plain on the way from Sydney to Perth and we camped by the road for the night. I always thought it was hot in the desert and was almost paralyzed by the cold. To compound my discomfort, I’d worn this fancy jumper with decorative holes and the wind howled through them. I was told “You can take the girl out of the North Shore but you can’t take the North Shore out of the girl.” That’s the part of Sydney I grew up and let’s just say it wasn’t rough and tumble. Meanwhile, the girl in this story is loosely inspired by our daughter who at 13 is still yet to step out in the world but is currently rehearsing to appear in Swan Lake in a local youth production and has been a scout until the start of this year. She got into scouts through her brother, and while she enjoyed it, I was also keen for her to do it as a counter-point to her dancing. Felt it was good for her to get out into the bush hiking and camping and stepping beyond the studio.

I hope you enjoy it and that it hasn’t suffered too much trying to cut it back to 100 words. It’s been heavily edited.

This is another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields where we write 100 words to a photo prompt. PHOTO PROMPT © Jan Wayne Fields

Best wishes,

Rowena

Weekend Coffee Share 20th August, 2018.

Welcome to Another Coffee Share!

How are you? How was your week? My manners have improved this week, as I often launch into an animated diatribe about my week, without even thinking of you. While you could interpret that as “rude”, I’ll excuse myself by saying that I’m excited to catch up with you and I thought you might be interested in a few snapshots of Australian life. That’s one of the things I really love about our Weekend Coffee Share is gaining a more personal insight into what it’s life to live in an other country.

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Bushfire Viewed from Ettalong Beach, NSW.

After seeing some spectacular photos of the fires ravaging California and hearing horror stories of mass destruction and heartbreak, we had our own local  bush fire this week over at Killcare, North of Sydney and about a 15 minutes drive from here. I woke up one morning and feel a thick cloak of smoke immediately wrap around me, and there was a definite tightness and constriction in my lungs. I have about 55% lung capacity. So, the panic buttons went off and I was wondering whether I’d need to get out. However, the wind must’ve changed because the smoke dissipated and by afternoon, I actually ventured to our local beach where I could photograph the towering plume of smoke without suffocating.

Saturday, saw a different kind of fire. Our kids were attending District Scout Camp at this very remote camp site at Sugree Bag Creek. Different scout troops were attending and each had its own camp fire blazing by the time we’d turned up late afternoon after our daughter’s dancing. These fires don’t just happen and there’s quite a lot of science involved. I saw our scout leader clearing away the grass with a shovel, and I’m not sure what else was involved but when my husband picked the kids up the next day, I was told that the fires didn’t go out overnight and the local bush wasn’t set alight. People are so quick to criticise and blame teenagers. Yet, here we had at least 50 or so kids with fires, bush and no problems.

My husband and I decided to turn the drive into more of an experience, which is why I’d come along. Of course, only one parent was required to do the actual driving. It was about a 90 minutes drive to the camp site and while you think of the outback in terms of remote in an  Australian sense, once you leave the road less travelled and continue onto the roads rarely travelled, it doesn’t take long for you to either experience that sense of getting away from it all or feeling isolated and I little bit vulnerable. There’s “nothing there”. However, ideally you don’t go camping in the supermarket car park and you actually do experience all that’s entailed with getting away from it all and you find out what you’re made of. You find interest in nature and the simple life instead of being glued to electronic, TV or having your nose in a book. This is living.

This lecture is as much for myself, I should point out. I could easily have read a book for much of the drive instead of engaging in conversation or looking out the window. As we drove off the main road and kept driving and driving onto what was by now more like a driveway or a cattle path, I noticed a rising sense of impatience…”Are we there yet?” I felt like we’d almost driving off the edge of the earth and I should’ve been embracing it. Enjoying the get away. Appreciating the benefits of switching off instead of being constantly switched on and lit up like a Christmas tree. By the time we reached Spencer, it was like “there’s nothing here”. I was really hanging out for some coffee and cake by then too. It was 5.00pm and everything was shut. Well, that was except the “Dunkirk Hotel”…an open air pub with a wooden sign suspended over a picnic table.

This coming Thursday, my parents will be celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary and all sorts are coming out of the woodwork and turning up for the festivities. My Dad is the only one making a speech, and I’ve supplied him with photos so there’s been no role for myself in all of this, which perhaps could be a good thing. However, that hasn’t stopped me from thinking about their big day and what it was all about. I just don’t have much to go on, because I wasn’t there which isn’t always a given but that’s how it was for us. Obviously, many of the people who were there on the day are no longer with us or have drifted beyond their orbit. One of the interesting snippets from my parents’ wedding was that my grandfather was a pastor and so he had another minister there at the start so he could walk my mother down the aisle and conduct the service. My Dad’s family was Catholic and Mum and her family were Lutheran and they got married in a Lutheran Church. That meant Dad’s family needed to get dispensation from the priest to attend. I don’t even know what that is, but it sounds serious. Mum’s wedding car also broke down on the way to the Church. The reception was held at my grandparents’ home in Lindfield.

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Anyway, while I was pottering around with my research, I found a photo of my mum taken at a school reunion back in the 80s and found her year had set up its own web site, which included pdfs of the school newsletter. I was particularly interested in the Principal’s reports. One was headed “the casual cult” and spoke out about the horrors of casual dress, manners and the “bodgie pack”. More time research required. Also, there were quite a few references to the girls outperforming the boys academically, which I hadn’t anticipated from that era. I have sensed that the needs of boys are being swept under the radar, which is all well and good if you only have daughters and don’t believe in some form of equity.

I’ve also been making considerable progress researching not only my grandmother’s career as a concert pianist, which I’ve mentioned before. She worked as a music critic in the 1950s for the Daily Telegraph and despite so many of the old newspapers being uploaded onto Trove, the Daily Telegraph has only just been uploaded and I’m finally able to read her reviews without trudging into the State Library viewing them on the reel to reel and paying a fortune to print them out. I’m now in the process of converting them to text and pasting them chronologically into a word document. Sounds all well and good but why did she have to attend so many concerts and be so prolific? I know. I’d be complaining if there was only a handful of words but it’s going to take some time to get this under my belt. 1950 alone is currently standing at 30,000 words and I’m not done yet. I should also point out that she had four children under ten at the time, although her mother lived with her and she also had home help. Nevertheless, she was an extraordinary woman.

Book

By the way, I am still making my way through Raphaelle Giordano’s: Your Second Life Begins When You Realize You Only Have One. This supposed novel features a whole lot of steps towards finding greater satisfaction and fulfillment in your life. This week, I focused on: “Throw out ten things”. That was all well and good. However, it didn’t bargain on us stopping at a roadside sign advertising “FREE” in huge red painted letters. We had no idea what was free when we pulled over. However, being out in the country, we expected something along the lines of oranges or horse manure. However, much to our delight, there were bags and bags of good books, which somehow found their way into the boot of our car. Although common sense tells you not to bring bags of books into your house when you’ve just downloaded your ten items, the book didn’t say you couldn’t. So, now I’m clearing more space and my husband will no longer be sleeping on the train. He has a lot of reading to do.

Meanwhile, you might enjoy reading my review on the book so far and my progress Here.

Books

So much more creating more space…there’s an avalanche of books.

Lastly, I have come across a blog share, which you might like to take part in. This was my first week over at Thursday Doors hosted by  Norm 2.0. . Here’s my contribution.

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Thursday Doors…St John’s Cathedral, Parramatta, Sydney.

Well, that’s me done for another week. It’s been great catching up and I look forward to catching up on your news.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Off On A Saturday Drive…

Welcome to being a scout parent. Your kid experiences the magic of the great outdoors, while you have the pleasure of being stuck in the car for a long drive. Well, I tell a fib because I wasn’t exactly stuck in the car, and I wasn’t driving either. Geoff was driving, and once we’d dropped off our charge, we made numerous photography stops and took full advantage of the great outdoors. Well, perhaps not full advantage because we didn’t exactly go for an extended hike, but I did walk our daughter down to the registration tent.

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This weekend, was District Scout Camp and it was held in the middle of nowhere,  and not even near the great outback. It was held in the camping grounds at Sugaree Creek and the only signs of civilization were numerous cow pats, no cows and a cluster of tents with camp fires going. Due to its lack of proximity to any landmarks, there is no point providing a map.

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Of course, there’s something naturally mesmerizing about being around a camp fire. Yet, the magic doesn’t just happen and there’s a lot of careful skill and preparation which goes into building a good one too. After having a local bush fire this week, it was good to hear that the camp fires survived the night and remained under control. Of couorse, we expect no less from our scouts.

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There’s something soulful about a tree skeleton silhouetted by a cloudy blue sky.

Of course, this is why you go camping and why we love our kids being involved with Scouts. It’s important to commune with nature, sleep under the stars and especially get away from technology, phones and gadgets and even talk face-to-face. Indeed, as much as I was wondering if we were ever going to get there, I know there’s much to enjoy about going on a long drive seemingly surrounded by nothingness and needing to find those points of interest. I guess this also includes not looking at my phone or reading a book either. The latter becomes very tempting.

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After leaving camp, we drove to Spencer. Don’t really know what it’s main claim to fame is, but there is a caravan park and it would be a great place to get away from it all, especially on a boat.

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It was after 5.00pm by the time we reached Spencer and the sun was setting and the place was shut. All except a makeshift pub…The Dunkirk Hotel, which was just this sign and a picnic table under the tree.

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Mangrove Creek photographed from Spencer.

If you are interested in checking out more around the Sugee Bag Creek area, I recommend reading Return to Sugree Bag Creek

Have you ever been involved with Scouts or Guides and have any camp memories? I’d love to hear from you!

xx Rowena

Dingo Attack!…Friday Fictioneers.

Perched on top of the ridge, the dingo pack was salivating.

“Fi fy fo fum  I smell …” Papa Dingo paused for dramatic effect.”Lamb chops infused with  rosemary and mustard.”

“Gourmet tonight!” Mama Dingo replied.

“All systems go.” The dingos howled. Right on cue, the humans were zipped inside the tent.

In a flash, the lamb chops were gone.

“Dingos??!!!!” Sally screamed.” When I agreed to go camping, you said NOTHING about dingoes! How are we going to see that “magical night sky” now?”

Suddenly, Jack remembered dinner.

“OMG, the dingoes got our lamb chops.“

“And my Nikon camera!…HOTEL NOW!”

……

This has been another contribution to Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wishoff-Fields. PHOTO PROMPT© Jan Wayne Fields.

It’s very late here and I plan to come back and polish this tomorrow. Although the tent in the photo prompt this week is quite modern, I was reminded of the tragic case of baby Azaria Chamberlain who was taken from her family’s tent in 1980 while they were camping at Ayer’s Rock or Uluru. This was one of the most debated and controversial court cases in Australian history.

Azaria Chamberlain (11 June 1980 – 17 August 1980) was an Australian 2-month-old baby girl who was killed by a dingo on the night of 17 August 1980 on a family camping trip to Uluru (also known as Ayers Rock) in the Northern Territory. Her body was never found. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, reported that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo. Lindy Chamberlain was, however, tried for murder and spent more than three years in prison. She was released when a piece of Azaria’s clothing was found near a dingo lair, and new inquests were opened. In 2012, some 32 years after Azaria’s death, the Chamberlains’ version of events was officially supported by a coroner.Wikipaedia

I was 11 when Azaria Chamberlain was taken. Everyone not only talked about the case, but debated and had a stance and Lindy Chamberlain was vilified. I also remember jokes going round school at the time. Racist jokes were equally popular back then so there wasn’t alot of consideration on many, many fronts.

Dingoes, which had seemingly passed under the radar, were also vivified and would’ve starred in “Australia’s Most Wanted”.

The difficulty is that humans and dingoes in Australia have been co-existing for thousands of years and dingoes are Australian natives.

Here’s a bit more about the dingoes:

“Dingoes know that humans are an easy way to get food, and you will often see a dingo watching fishermen, and waiting for free fish. Dingoes also occasionally tour through campsites and sit of the periphery of a camp, watching and waiting for an opportunity to be given some free food or to find some left over scraps. In most cases dingoes simply sit back beyond the light of the camp and watch. If a dingo chooses to sit near you feel very honoured and enjoy its company but do not try to approach the animal, and don’t try to lure it with food. Dingoes do not like to be patted so please never reach out you hand to pat them, especially over their head. This is seen by dingoes as predatorial behaviour and very threatening.

Dingoes are shameless thieves, and will take any opportunity to steal whatever they can from you. This is not because the item has your scent on it and they see it as a food item, it is because they love to play with whatever new and novel item they can find. Do not leave your thongs outside your tent, or leave anything out of your vehicle that you can’t afford to have stolen. This obviously includes food, but also includes sleeping mattresses, which they love to tear up into small pieces, and anything else you own including expensive camera equipment!”

Save Fraser Island Dingoes

Hope you’ve enjoyed something of a trip to Australia this week.

xx Rowena

 

 

The Virgin Campers…Friday Fictioneers.

Blood-curdling screams echoed through the night and the dog was going psycho.

Half-awake, Jack saw that young bloke grabbing his missus by the throat.

“I’ll get the bastard. Ring 000!” Jack yelled, putting on his pants.

“Jack? Stay out of it. You’re too old to play the hero. Leave it to the cops.”

“That couple camping at the creek… He’s killed ‘er.”

Suddenly, there was a knock at the door.

Margaret was so afraid, her teeth almost leaped out of her mouth and into the bush.

“P…p..p.lease h…h..h..help. The…the…there’s a h..h…h..huge ssssspiiiider in our t..t.t.ttent.”

“Struth! Thought you’d been murdered.”

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This has been a contribution to Friday Fictioneers. This week the photo prompt comes from © Jan Wayne Fields

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Drop Bear

To give a bit of background, I’m Australian and to be perfectly honest, I’ve never seen anyone go camping with a power generator thingy here. I was rather stuck on this prompt and showed my husband. He grew up in NE Tasmania and did a lot of real camping growing up, which included hiking up Cradle Mountain. His immediate response was: “You call that camping!!” They definitely struck both of us as virgin campers and they were just begging for some Australian wildlife to enter their tent. There is so much to choose from…the dingo, possums which are known to tear open tents to steal your food, snakes, spiders…even drop bears! My husband suggested writing about all forms of wildlife converging on the tent at once.

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Huntsman Spider. Photo Jon.

However, then I remembered a hilarious situation I heard on the radio where screams were heard from a flat in Sydney. When the Police turned up convinced there’d been a murder. They found a guy standing on a chair with a spider on the wall…a huntsman. Not poisonous but it can give a nasty bite. There story makes for an excellent read! http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-11-27/police-respond-to-domestic-after-man-screams-over-spider/6979724

Our daughter was terrified by a huntsman only the other night so even though it’s not poisonous, it’s still up there with Nightmare on Elm Street.

xx Rowena

 

Weekend Coffee Share 23rd october, 2016.

Welcome to another Weekend Coffee Share.

You’re just lucky that it rained. Otherwise, you’d be joining me in a tent camping at the Scout Hall right on the waterfront.

That said, I still haven’t decided whether I was lucky or unlucky the weather saved me from camping. While I was looking forward to giving camping a go and sleeping metres from the water, I did get cold feet which had nothing to do with the rain! I’ve now decided I should start off with camping in the backyard where everything but the camping is familiar.

How was your week?

Now, that we’ve established that we’re not roughing it, can I offer you a more civilised beverage than billy tea? In case you don’t know what billy tea is, that’s tea made in a tin pot over the camp fire.

Last week, was really hectic for me. There were a couple of tough, difficult days for my son, which have come good but they were incredibly stressful and we are still concerned about him. He is 12.5 years old and in his first year of high school and I guess that says it all. He has taken up sailing so hopefully that will provide him with a relaxing outlet to get him through the swirling vortex of pubescence. I might need to take it up too, although writing and photography are my outlets.

Thursday, I had a medical check-up in Sydney and as usual, I went off the grid afterwards. I went to the Sydney Jewish Museum to see an exhibition about Anne Frank and also a collection of letters from Otto Frank, which he’d sent to an Australian and a New Zealander who’d written to him after reading Anne’s diary. That was fantastic. Here’s the link.

After going to the exhibition, I started walking towards Surry Hills and Central Station. En route, I stumbled across  Darlinghurst Gaol, which has been the National Art School for some time. The old sandstone architecture was very striking and intriguing and I could sense the stories hovering in the air…and a few ghosts.

I love Surry Hills and stopped there for afternoon tea, wandered through Salvo store there and a bookshop, which had a stunning rainbow-coloured bicycle parked out the front. I could almost picture myself riding it but am not so sure. It is very rainbow.

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I also saw some fabulous Street art in Surry Hills:

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Saturday, I went down to the Scout Hall to join in with the fishing, which largely involved me taking photos and watching a few of the kids. In retrospect, I realise that I should’ve had a few lessons myself as I have no idea how to cast off and so was of little help to the kids. The kids caught a few undersized whiting and bream which were thrown back after photographs were taken but one boy managed to catch a flounder, which was exciting…not a common fish. I also spent considerable time following mother duck and her ducklings with one of the cubs. The ducklings were adorable!

 

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Our Daughter Fishing.

 

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Australian ducklings with mother duck.

Meanwhile, last Sunday we finally planted 12 of the sunflower seeds salvaged from the MH17 crash site in the Ukraine. You would be so proud of how lightening fingers here is looking after those precious seeds. A week later, seven out of the twelve seeds I planted have sprouted but one had it’s top nipped off. I am moving them out in the the sun outside every morning and then bringing them back in at night and watering them with a spray bottle. My other half-dead plants are complaining of preferential treatment as they continue to experience neglect but I have to ensure these sunflowers not only survive but also produce a bumper crop of seeds, which don’t get eaten by the birds either! It’s a big job!

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Anyway, I’d better head off and start getting ready for another week. It’s now Sunday afternoon and Monday morning is just around the corner.

Hey, just wondering, if I turn back and go round the other corner, does that mean I’ll go back to Saturday and get another weekend? After all, it makes perfectly logical sense. If only this were possible, I might just be ready for another week. What do you think?

Anyway, thanks for catching up and I hope you’ve had a great week and an enjoyable weekend.

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share run by Diana over at Part-Time Monster and you can read the other posts by clicking here on the Linky.

Love & Best Wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

The Great Breakdowns of Travel Legends.

When your home is your vehicle and your vehicle is your home, your worst nightmare is a break down! Well kid’s, hate to tell you this but nightmares do come true. This last week I noticed our 1978 Toyota Chinook was starting to act up on a daily basis. Of course it’s normal to have […]

via Mishap of the Month : Our Toyota Chinook Chinooked! — roamwildandfree