Tag Archives: Jamboree

Weekend Coffee Share – 18th February, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share!

Well, to be perfectly honest, it’s no longer the weekend here and it’s almost bedtime Monday night. However, we’re a global community so I decided to latch onto someone else’s time zone. How about it American Samoa? It’s just gone midnight over there.

So how was your week? What about your weekend or even the start of the week? I hope things are going well for you.

The last week feels like a blur, but I’m sure I did something. Went somewhere.

Love

That’s right. Wednesday was Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day isn’t a huge thing in Australia, especially once you’ve been married for awhile. That said, my husband brought me some chocolates and flowers and I gave him a non-Valentine’s Day themed book, which was actually about stretcher bearers in WWI and WWII. While the bookseller showed me a rather of books on the philosophy of love, those clearly looked like for myself. Mind you, when I spotted a book about the notorious prison, Pentridge, I thought I’d made a good choice. Imagine giving that to your better half as a gift? Being married to you is a prison sentence. Even if it is, that would certainly dampen the Valentine’s Day spirit.

If you joined me last week, you might recall that my application for an electric recliner was knocked back by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) after a 10 month wait because I can walk.

Well, the good news is that I’ve managed to pick up an electric recliner chair for nothing and am now able to raise and lower my legs and dear self out of my chair without contorting myself. A friend of mine found out about it on a site called Free Cycle and it was just around the corner and the people very kindly dropped it off for me. How good was that! Faith in community…100%. Faith in NDIS…? Think I might be diplomatic and not give them a score. Anyway, although this chair is 13 years old and onto its third owner, it’s brought me great relief.

On Saturday, I extended myself well beyond my comfort zone when I volunteered for the scout sausage sizzle at our local Bunnings Hardware Store. Well, that’s if you can call it volunteering. Both of our kids are going to Jamboree next January and the fundraising has begun. Our troop is very fair and transparent with it’s fundraising for Jamboree. You do a shift per child and the profits are only split between the families there on the day. Every bit helps. I must say a black hole is swallowing up our finances, which very well have my name on it but it’s easier to blame a malevolent, nebulous force than to accept personal liability.

Getting back to the BBQ, as I said this was a bit of a stretch for me. I have some coordination issues and so slicing up the onion or cooking the sausages seemed a bit beyond me, but serving and needing to count change also felt rather daunting. I never count my change and consider myself functionally innumerate. However, I managed well. Only slipped up when some pesky person decided to shout his mate and I had to calculate a few sangers, drinks…oh boy!

This week, I had a post published over at Smorgasbord  hosted by Sally Cronin. Perhaps, you might have read Life Is Meant To Be Easy. Even so, I still encourage you to pop over and read the comments. They are quite encouraging.

I have been getting back into the blog lately, which I’m enjoying. This week, I participated in Friday Fictioneers again, writing: The Snow Job. I also wrote about trading my high heels in for sensible shoes in Finding My Happy Feet.

red shoes

Carpe Diem: Seize the Day!! It’s are rare occasion that I’m able to wear heeled shoes but I wore these fabulous beauties to my cousin’s engagement party at Circular Quay.

Our daughter’s 12th birthday is coming up this Saturday. She’s having a slumber party and we’ll be setting up the tent once again in the backyard. I think I have much to worry about here but I don’t think the onslaught has registered yet.

How has your week been? I’d love to hear from you.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Alli.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

Life Lessons from A Young Scout.

Having our son back safe and sound from Australian Scouting Jamboree was only half of the equation. Finding out what happened at camp was undoubtedly more challenging, requiring great journalistic and detective stealth and all sorts of secret, underhand tactics. Bribery and corruption are just what I can mention in public. It gets a hell of a lot worse.After all, you have to be very sneaky to navigate your way around the hard and fast rule: “what happens at camp, stays at camp”. Not even the leaders dob.

While I’m a strong believer in giving my kids room to grow, you can’t blame me for being interested in my child, can you?

I’ve been secretly wishing I could somehow be that pesky fly following him around everywhere, driving him nuts all day without him actually twigging that it’s Mum still following him around with her camera.

For better and for worse, I couldn’t be that fly. Instead, I had to let both of us go so we could each grow and stretch our wings. That said, somehow I managed to fly into a paint tin and spent ten days renovating his room along with his Dad. But that’s true love, isn’t it?!!

This, of course, leaves me with a very fragmented, patchy and distant view of what he’s been up to. It’s going to take time for all the stories to percolate into conversation but I’m doing my best to help him capture these memories to last a life time.

That said, thank goodness, there’s been a Facebook page where leaders posted photos for the families. However, Mister’s been conspicuously absent. Well, not entirely but if you’ve seen me in action, it’s nothing for me to take 300 photos in a day, so there was always going to be “a gap”.

A gap I’m sure all parents know too well. It’s that automatic gap which follows a parent’s enthusiastic: “How was it?” There’s that silence which might, if you’re very lucky, be followed by a grunt or a “nothing much” as they find the real meaning of life in Minecraft.

Anyway, as other parents would appreciate, taking a direct approach, usually yields poor returns. Instead, you have to be devious. Eavesdrop. Ask their friends. I have found that even though “leaky lips sink ships”, someone is usually only too willing to share but it usually takes a bit of time.

I should add that the scouts weren’t able to take phones away to camp. Our son is yet to acquire a mobile so we weren’t used to being able to contact him any time any where but he did call me twice but these were brief 2 minutes snatches before the money ran out.We weren’t a local call.

So, you can just imagine my excitement when I overhear Mister talking to his sister on the phone  and I hear the words  “my tips for Jamboree are…”!!

Miss is currently staying with my parents to help Mister adapt to re-entry. We expected him to be pretty tired and that he might need some peace and quiet. Miss is a Cub Scout and was too young to attend this Jamboree but she has every intention of attending in 3 years’ time. Geoff and Miss went down to Jamboree for their open day called “Super Saturday”. She loved it!

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So when I heard Mister authoritatively sharing his”Jamboree Tips” with his little sister,  I was all ears. Better still, being the unashamed eavesdropper and reporter that I’ve always been, I instantly grabbed an old envelope and a pen and was clearly taking notes. How priceless was this? Big Brother giving his little sister advice. It really touched me somewhere deep inside my heart. It was one of those real gooey “ooh” moments where as a parent, you just glow all over with pride!

There were only two tips and I must admit I was hoping there would have been more. However, two life lessons was certainly way more than the grunt I’d anticipated from a very sleepy Scout on his return.

Mister’s Jamboree Life Lessons

Tip 1: Don’t leave wet clothes lying on the ground. They attract funnel web spiders. Put your clothes on something where they’ll get dry. (They did actually find funnel webs near their tent and I was told “someone was bitten” but very much doubt it.

I’ve since had word from the Scout leader on the subject of Funnel Webs:”Fortunately the funnelwebs only made their presence felt on the last day. Regards tip one with not leaving clothes on the ground wet or otherwise, it wasn’t so much the spiders, but more that the clothes will be, well, wet and you’ll have nothing to dry to wear, seemingly a worse fate!”

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Tip 2: Challenge your limits. I jumped off a board that was 20 metres high and you land on your back or it really hurts. (This was the Stunt Jump and apparently there is some debate about how high it actually was. Geoff thinks it was more like 10 metres)

However, while I thought he was giving these tips to his sister, he was actually talking to my Mum…his grandmother! My mother has certainly tried a range of new things since becoming a grandparent but I doubt camping is going to be one of them…especially co-habitating with deadly Funnel Web! Spiders!

That said, I shouldn’t  sell her short. Why shouldn’t she extend her limits as well? I’m not going to stop her. Yet, at the same time, I can’t imagine her trying out the stunt jump either. Go Granny! Who am I to decide how someone else constructs and re-constructs themselves? A few years ago, I went away on an adventure camp myself and went quad bike riding. Who would have thought? I’m sure the kids thought I was close to being a Granny myself.

No one is set in stone! Human beings are always full of surprises!

Later on, I also received tip number three:

Tip 3: Mummy, having a watermelon to yourself isn’t a good thing. I felt sick in my stomach after 12 bites but I kept going. Mummy , they had five crates filled to the top with watermelon. We took 1 1/2 crates and ate them ourselves.

Jonathon alone watermelon

I think all that watermelon went straight to his face!

I’m interested to hear what other life lessons Mister has picked up while he’s been away. Stay tuned!

While I’ve been thrilled that he’s been able to have this experience and  wasn’t worried about him at a conscious level, I was missing him. I’ve been a bit like the dog knowing he should be here and feeling a bit lost or out of kilter without him. That’s not a bad thing either because a bit of absence makes you appreciate each other more and helps to reinforce what’s important.

There are so many things money can’t buy and yet money also funds huge extravaganzas like Jamboree and helps the wheels turn round…a Catch 22.

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See! Drop Bears! I’m not imagining anything!

I also believe children need community beyond their own family. That they need to experience how different people live and that there’s more than one way to do things. That diversity is what gives our world it’s colour, vibrancy and texture. We do not want the world to be full of clones of ourselves. How boring is that? Yet, isn’t that what so many strive so hard to achieve? If birds of a feather only flew together, where would humanity be?

I don’t know AND I don’t want to find out either!

Yet, I still feel pressured to conform, even though I’m beyond the flow and there’s always some part of me sticking out of the box. Even I, with all my rhetoric about accepting and loving ourselves as we are, still instinctively reaches for the scissors to snip all those extra bits off. Don’t you? Even though, we know we shouldn’t because these beautiful “extras” are what makes us who we truly are…our identity. These are far too precious to simply snip off, throw out and yet that quest for “acceptance” can override all sense of accepting and being ourselves.

My son hasn’t mentioned that he felt accepted at Jamboree. That he made friends and belonged but he did. I don’t know how that environment differed to the playground but somehow it did. I don’t know if everyone got on as well as it seemed but at least in the photos, they were one big, extremely happy jungle of kids making the most of the sun, rain and glorious mud…

At least, that’s what I’ve eavesdropped from Jamboree.

Have you ever been involved with Scouts or Guides? Please share some of your experiences!

xx Rowena

Dog Claims Drop Bears Ate Missing Boy!

Saturday 9th June, 2016.

SYDNEY.

News has just been received that Bilbo, a distraught Border Collie, has reported a boy he calls “his brother” missing.

Bilbo states that the boy, who has been missing since Saturday 2nd January, has been eaten by Drop Bears. He has grave concerns for the boy’s safety.

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Last Seen.

When investigators interviewed Bilbo, he said there was nothing left of the boy and that the Drop Bears have even painted his bedroom to cover up and contaminate forensic evidence.

Bilbo said: “Only the vicious Drop Bear is capable devouring its victims whole like this. They’re a savage beast and fall out of trees silently attacking their prey without warning.”

Bilbo walking Dark Gully

Bilbo out searching for the missing boy.

Bilbo said: “There’s a tree outside the boy’s room. This is how the Drop Bear snuck in and disappeared without being spotted.”

Drop Bears (Thylarctos plummetus ) are around the size of a leopard or very large dog with coarse orange fur with some darker mottled patterning (as seen in most Koalas). It is a heavily built animal with powerful forearms for climbing and holding on to prey. It lacks canines, using broad powerful premolars as biting tools instead. – See more at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/drop-bear#sthash.kbhxOHhg.dpuf

Although actually sightings of Drop Bears are extremely rare, the Australian Museum’s web site explains that are very adept hunters:

“Drop Bears hunt by ambushing ground dwelling animals from above, waiting up to as much as four hours to make a surprise kill. Once prey is within view, the Drop Bear will drop as much as eight metres to pounce on top of the unsuspecting victim. The initial impact often stuns the prey, allowing it to be bitten on the neck and quickly subdued.

If the prey is small enough Drop Bears will haul it back up the tree to feed without harassment from other predators. (See more at: http://australianmuseum.net.au/drop-bear#sthash.kbhxOHhg.dpuf)

Police have checked local CCTV footage and no signs of the boy have been found.

“It’s a real mystery,” said Sergeant Plod of Beach Village. “This is the first talk we’ve had of Drop Bears in the area and we are taking this threat extremely seriously, particularly since the reported sighting in Brisbane.

We advise all local residents to keep their house locked at all times and not to leave any windows open. Keep pets inside and out of harm’s way as well. When it comes to Drop Bears, your much loved pets are nothing but a snack.

If anyone sees a Drop Bear, do not approach. They are extremely dangerous. I repeat….DO NOT APPROACH. Instead call Drop Bear Stoppers immediately.” Sergeant Plod said.

We are thinking of the boy’s family and pray for his safe return.

PS Mister has been at the Australian Jamboree during this time. His troop is called the Drop Bears and they are having an incredible time. Geoff and Miss caught up with him today. He’s very tired but still smiling and having the time of his life! Stay tuned.

A New Year’s Coffee Share

Happy New Year to you all!

I hope you had a fabulous NYE! What did you get up to?

We stayed home and watched the Sydney fireworks on TV with the kids and the dogs. Sydney has two huge fireworks displays all focused on the magnificent Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Harbour. There’s the family display at 9.00PM and of course, the huge midnight extravaganza. I understand that I’m using a lot of flashy lingo here but these fireworks were truly out of this world and even the photos I took from the television at home were breathtakingly beautiful.

You can read more about it here:

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/sydney-fireworks-a-prelude-to-midnight/

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/01/happy-new-year-sydney/

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However, every rose has it’s thorns and the unfortunate downside of the fireworks is terrified and panic-stricken pets.

We had a lot of local people letting of backyard fireworks and it’s these explosions which seriously distressed our younger dog, Lady. She turned into a slobbering, shaking mess, which went on for almost 5 hours. With my glasses all fogged up and needing windscreen wipers, it was a long night…for us and the dog!

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A panic-stricken Lady seeking to uproot the laptop.

This is not the first New Year’s Eve we’ve been home babysitting dogs either. Once upon a time, we used to be out by the Harbour smelling the gunpowder and being part of the atmosphere instead of watching on.

Yes, once upon a time.

Indeed, Geoff and I actually met on New Year’s Eve 17 years ago at a friend’s party overlooking the fireworks. Obviously, there were fireworks of a different sort.

Have you set any New Year’s Resolutions?

Or, perhaps, you’re a bit like me and had them thrust upon you…the New Year’s Resolutions you had to have?

Here are just a few which have been thrust on me:

  1. Be on time. This includes the kids as well.
  2. Go to bed earlier.
  3. Establish a weekly routine/schedule.
  4. Reduce spending.
  5. Organise house.

I addressed the whole resolution thing here: A Magical New Year https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2016/01/02/a-magical-new-year/

Meanwhile, I’ve set myself the goal to get on with the Book Project, which could well be completely incompatible and at odd with all of the above points.

I’m also starting to think about the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. I am writing about Sydney but working on an angle to try to limit the scope. I also want to make it really interesting for overseas readers, which make up most of my readers. I’ll be getting started on this almost immediately so the kids and I can work on it over the holidays and get material. That will be a fun holiday project for them.

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It takes a hell of a lot of work for a Scout to get to Jamboree!

Meanwhile, if we were having coffee today, I’d be telling you that the reason why we haven’t gone away this January is that our son has gone away to Jamboree with Scouts for 12 days and when he gets back, he’ll be off to High School. From what we’ve been told, he’ll be doing so much at Jamboree that when he gets home, he’ll just be wanting to sleep. Not sure for how long but I’ve already arranged for his sister to be at my parents’ place when he gets back so he can have some peace. I am expecting a potentially growling bear going into hibernation.

Major reconstruction required to the room!

Major reconstruction required to the room!

While he’s away, we’re painting his room. There’ll be no surprises here as we discussed it all before he left. However, I’m sure you know how these projects work. You don’t appreciate the full horror until it’s too late to turn back. “A paint job” or face lift has now turning into reconstructive surgery.  However, there’s no anaethetist for the hapless parents doing the task while the lad is off having the time of his life. No team of TV experts either. I must also admit that I’d have to classify myself as a major liability to smooth operations and I’m more likely to break than fix anything.

Before kids, I painted all the walls. After kids, I applied a seemingly simple patch to a hole in the wall and instead of being flat, it bulged outward like a tumour.My husband is now talking to me about the ???!! instructions after removing said patch and fixing it himself.

As for how the hole ended up in the wall, I need more than a coffee to deal with that!

With all of this going on, I dropped my prednisone used to treat my auto-immune disease down half a mg today to 7.5mg per day and really felt it. Have spent much of the day in bed. Will take a few days to adjust and I’m going to stay at this level while we get through first term.

So, here I am sitting at my computer having coffee with you while Geoff is at work. Mister is at Scout Jamboree and our daughter is living it up at her grandparents.

Humph! After writing all this, I realise that yet again, I’m procrastinating. That I’m talking and writing instead of doing but just give me another coffee and I’ll be ready for work!

 

Coffee french

So, now that we’ve survived the hangover, it’s time to get on with another year!

This has been part of the Weekend Coffee Share hosted by Diana at Part Time Monster and please check us out at the linky: http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=595142

Love & Best Wishes,

Rowena

PS For any of you in the North who might be experiencing the January Blues, I strongly recommend that if you can’t hop on a plane and join us Down Under that you pop over to Suzie and read this brilliant post. I’ve printed it out because it doesn’t have to be Winter to have a bad day!http://suzie81speaks.com/2016/01/02/how-to-beat-the-january-blues/