Tag Archives: snakes

Get the Blasted Midges!

As an Australian, there’s seemingly no end to our deadly dangerous, venomous wildlife. I’ve written before about our encounters with venomous snakes, deadly Funnel Web Spiders Funnel Web Spiders and devilish   Drop Bears falling from trees. However, as dangerous as these might be, I’ve never actually been bitten.

The same can’t be said of the “Midge”.Last weekend, it got me. Indeed, I was all but consumed by the Midge and am still suffering terribly. While the Midge might be small, it packs a mighty punch!

“A Midge? What on earth is a Midge?”

Well, you might ask.

“Is it just Aussie slang for a deadly beast you know by a more conventional name? Or, could those wild Australians possibly be harbouring yet another deadly fiend?”

Well, last weekend, I found out exactly what a Midge is.

Of course, knowing my luck, it had to be the hard, way when I was all but consumed by its relentless attack.

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We were having a picnic in the park in Queensland’s Surfers Paradise. After running around chatting and photographing, there I was feasting on a slice of gooey Nutella Chocolate Birthday Cake crowned with luscious fresh raspberries when the sneaky blighters struck.

The first I heard of them, was when I started hearing our family and friends chatting about who has “sweet blood”. Thinking “Midgie” must have been Queensland slang for mosquitos, I relaxed. Mozzies tend to leave me alone. My blood must be so ridiculously sweet, that it’s undesirable. Moreover, I am not allergic to mozzie bites.

However, the Midge is NOT a mosquito. Rather, Biting Midges are very small flies (0.5mm – 4mm long), renowned for their nuisance biting and are associated with coastal habitats. They seemingly live in swarms and so it’s not the case of getting one bite but having bites all over every bit of exposed skin.

Although I was covered in red spots, I wasn’t phased until I heard someone say they get worse the next day. That’s when I began to take note. Start to wonder whether I was in trouble. After all, I’m allergic to bee stings and I’m on immouno-suppressant drugs and can end up on antibiotics for a simple grazed knee. Yet, I still wasn’t in a panic. How could such a  tiny fly cause an insatiable itch, sending you to the brink of madness?

I was about to find out.

Sunday morning, I took an antihistamine thinking trouble was on its way.

Sunday night, I caked my arms and legs in Calamine lotion. My feet felt like they were being eaten alive.

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Midge Feet 3 days after the attack.

Monday, we bought an insect bite gel and coated myself in cortisone cream once we arrived home.

Monday night, I took two phenergan tablets.

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I had bites like this on both arms and legs. The itch could send you crazy…or, crazier!

While the Midge might be small, it packs a mighty punch! Three days later, I’m still itching like crazy and am about to head off to apply more creams, take more antihistamine and am hoping the bites don’t get infected and I’ll be onto antibiotics. Clearly, I am allergic to the Midge.

So, while I used to give the Funnel Web spiders, snakes and sharks, their due, the humble Midge has now been added to my personal Australia’s Most Wanted List.

Or, should I say, the most UNwanted.

Now, where’s that cream? I can’t help wondering if it is cheaper by the dozen.

xx Rowena

Australia: You’ve Been Warned!!

You don’t have to be Einstein to know Australia is a land of rugged extremes. A place where you just need to dip your toe in the water and it could became a battle of life and death against any number of foes.

Naturally, you’d be mad to ever set foot in the place. Indeed, it really is a mystery to modern science how locals have ever managed to survive.

Of course, all sorts of theories abound. Personally, I reckon that daily dose of Vegemite toast probably makes us so toxic and unpalatable to wildlife, that they don’t even want to take a bite.

Our climate is just as extreme, dangerous and potentially deadly as our wildlife.

Moreover, it’s almost ludicrous to think that while one part of the country is experiencing ferocious, destructive bush fires, the Northern Territory has severe flooding. Moreover, the fact that it’s Christmas never seems to enter the equation either. Nature doesn’t care.

Vintage Ettalong Santa Truck 2008 Pearl Beach

An Australian Christmas, Pearl Beach, New South Wales.

So, if you’re in the UK experiencing floodwaters, thank your lucky stars you’re nowhere near the Daly River in Australia’s rugged Northern Territory where rising flood waters are the least of your worries.

Those very same waters are infested with large, man-eating saltwater crocodiles. Snap! Snap! While most of Australia’s dangerous wildlife doesn’t actively seek out humans, crocs are a different story. They’re aggressive predators and quite happy to add you to the menu. You can read the full story here: http://www.news.com.au/technology/science/animals/daly-river-residents-alarmed-after-spotting-crocodiles-in-town-during-flood/news-story/786cad8139b22f7e0c5092f5988eb629

Meanwhile, on Christmas Day, 116 homes were lost in horrific bush fires on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria. An incredible inferno, this blaze is still going.

The extremes of the Australian climate and landscape are encapsulated in a historic poem written by Dorothea McKellar, which probably rouses more national pride than our national anthem. It has quite a number of verses but this is what usually gets recited:

I love a sunburnt country,
A land of sweeping plains,
Of ragged mountain ranges,
Of droughts and flooding rains.
I love her far horizons,
I love her jewel-sea,
Her beauty and her terror –
The wide brown land for me!

Indeed, it is a land where drought and flood have somehow become strangely interconnected.  Bush fire is so common that it’s even required  for some plant species to germinate, bringing about new life. You’d have to say that’s just proof this place is insane. How could anything so destructive ever have any redeeming features?

Meanwhile, Geoff and I are enjoying a very lazy, comfortable day parked in the couch at home. Geoff’s watching the cricket while I’m blogging while the dog sleeps on my feet. I should tell him to thank his lucky stars he’s nowhere near the Daly’s River either. Dogs have sadly become snack food up there, while Bilbo and Lady and been enjoying eating post-Christmas treats.

dogs

Enjoying the easy life!

One of these days, I’ll be expecting complaints from the Australian Tourism Commission: “Stop scaring away the tourists”. I know I should only be sharing the nice fluffy stories about lush green pastures and stunning golden beaches but where’s the fun in that? Snakes, spiders, crocodiles, bush fires, floods, crazed drop bears…this is the real Australia.

Enter at your own risk!

Have you been game?

xx Rowena

 

 

 

Weekend Coffee Share: Byron Bay – Back to Earth.

If we were having coffee right now, I would never get to sleep.

So, I’m drinking a decaf tea served in a Tim Tam mug by the way. If you haven’t tried Australia’s favourite biscuit which is best eaten as the “Tim Tam Explosion” (one of the more polite terms I’ve heard), you haven’t lived. By the way, this is where you bite off both ends of the Tim Tam and dunk the end in a hot drink and suck through it like a straw. The chocolate melts and if you’re not careful, you’re Tim Tam falls in the drink and drowns. Such a waste!

This is an exceptionally rare packet of Tim Tams. The tray isn't empty!!

This is an exceptionally rare packet of Tim Tams. The tray isn’t empty!!

Returning home from Byron Bay is never good but the fridge/freezer had seemingly died but miraculously returned to life once it had defrosted and the new fridge had been ordered. But the old unit is in the laundry and the new one is BEAUTIFUL. It has the freezer down the bottom so I can reach reach the fruit and veg without torturing myself. It is so clean and right now I’m feeling very protective!

Life is good.

The next day a filling fell out of my tooth while I was at the beach.It actually looked like a bit of shell but I knew.

Life not so good.

My Father & Other Liars by Geoff Le Pard decided to launch it's own book tour and couldn't wait for Geoff to visit Australia!

My Father & Other Liars by Geoff Le Pard decided to launch it’s own book tour and couldn’t wait for Geoff to visit Australia!

Tuesday, the kids returned to school for the start of Term 4. Miracle of miracles, they were on time despite the chaos with the fridge-freezer.

Wednesday, train trip to Sydney reading My Father and Other Liars by blogging mate Geoff Le Pard…almost compensated for the trip to the dentist. (Check it out at http://www.geofflepard.com) If you’ve seen Finding Nemo, my dentist’s surgery is in just about the same location as that Australian dentist and he also has a fish tank. So after business was attended to, the book decided it wanted to see the sights. Make Geoff jealous. We walked down to the edge of Sydney Harbour  and I took some mediocre photos with my phone. The weather wasn’t great so I didn’t bother taking the SLR, which involves taking a backpack as well as my monster-truck sized handbag.(I told the book it had to pack light but once again it didn’t listen. Insisted I pack the kitchen sink and cart it around without any assistance whatsoever. It seems that being a book makes you some kind of royalty and there’s absolutely no question that everybody will carry you around. You don’t even have to turn a page!)

Next, we walked over the Luna Park and considered catching a ferry but again the weather wasn’t great and what with the cold gusts sweeping across the harbour, I opted for another day. The book wasn’t happy and started nagging so I zipped it back up in my bag where I couldn’t hear it’s complaints. Believe me the whingefest was turning into a negrave (a great term I stole from a show about ice addicts). Fortunately after parenting two kids, I’m adept at ignoring all noise and pretended we’d never met (even though that terrible racquet was coming from my handbag and I wasn’t very popular in the quiet carriage on the train!

I'm not sure whether selfies are supposed to reverse the text in a photo but it does seem a bit odd. Technology and I are not usually on very good terms.

I’m not sure whether selfies are supposed to reverse the text in a photo but it does seem a bit odd. Technology and I are not usually on very good terms.

In between reading Geoff’s book, I’ve madly been trying to type up my notes from the Byron Bay trip and sort out the photos. I’m only halfway so I’ll be posting about Byron Bay for some time to come and just hope nothing happens in the meantime that’s going to set me back. That’s the trouble with contemporary communications. News ages way too quickly.

Byron Bay looking North to Mt Warning.

Main Beach, Byron Bay looking North to Mt Warning.

Anyway, I’ve really like to encourage you, especially if you live overseas and have never been to Australia, to check out my posts about Byron Bay. I know I’ve been raving on about the snakes but it really is paradise on earth and every time I go there, I return a changed person. Something changes just like going to a chiropractor and your spine is suddenly in alignment, you just feel better!

Here are some of the posts I’ve written about Byron Bay:

The Sun Set Byron Bay

The Sun Set Byron Bay

Byron Bay: Australia’s Alternative Paradise: https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/04/03/byron-bay-australias-alternative-paradise/

Sydney-Newrybar-Byron Bay  Weekend Coffee Share 4th October, 2015 https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/sydney-newrybar-byron-bay-weekend-coffee-share/

Snake Bait:a snake was on the loose outside while my kids were picking mulberries.

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/08/snake-bait/

Shadow in the Chook Shed

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/09/motivational-chooks/

Updating our annual family photo at the Byron Bay Lighthouse.

Updating our annual family photo at the Byron Bay Lighthouse.

Shadows in Paradise: An Australian Postcard ... some of the not so friendly critters around Byron Bay.

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/poem-shadows-in-paradise-an-australian-postcard/

Poem: Beyond the Veil (a bride and groom posing for photos at Byron Bay Lighthouse)

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/11/poem-beyond-the-veil/

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Lazy Birds of Byron Bay…birds which feast of humans and human refuse

https://beyondtheflow.wordpress.com/2015/10/10/lazy-birds-of-byron-bay/

Ibis drinking coconut milk

Ibis drinking coconut milk

Well, that pretty much wraps up the last week and looking at that ibis sipping on fresh coconut milk while the rain’s pouring down overhead, is making me feel like getting straight back in the car and going back to Byron Bay.

I’d love to hear how your week went and your various ups and downs.This post is part of #weekendcoffeeshare. You can check out the various posts via the linky:

http://www.inlinkz.com/new/view.php?id=571509

xx Rowena

Shadow in the Chook Shed

If you are looking for your own motivational cheer squad, perhaps you should consider moving into a chook shed, where even the most routine happenings are cause for raucous celebration!

Still on holidays at the farm at Newrybar, we were feasting on mulberries out on the back verandah soaking in the incredible greenery when we we heard a crescendo of feverish clucking emanating from the chook shed.

My immediate thought was snake. After all, the chooks were making a hell of a ruckus and after spotting the venomous Black Snake in the garden only a few days ago, I’ve been seeing snakes everywhere since.

“To him who is in fear everything rustles.”

SOPHOCLES, Acrisius [fragment

Of course, a snake in the chook shed seemed like quite a feasible possibility. After all, what kind of snake wouldn’t be partial to a bit of chook and from the numerous stories I’ve heard, they’ve nabbed chooks in the past.

Meanwhile, the kids’ uncle, always keen to educate the kids about things on the farm (a process I call “farmification”) asked them: “Why did the chooks make that noise?”

Right on queue like a primed quiz contestant, Mister piped up: “A chook laid an egg”.

He was right on the money and I felt a little bit disappointed that I’d got it wrong and wondered whether I was starting to get a bit too paranoid about the snakes.

At the same time however, I had to wonder about the chooks making so much fuss over simply laying an egg. Hadn’t they seen an egg before? That’s certainly how it sounded. Gee, I’m not sure whether chooks are like goldfish and only have a 5 second memory but you’d swear they’d never seen an egg before.

Or, that their team had just scored the winning goal in the footy grand final.

However, Geoff, who never lets my love of hyperbole get in the way of the facts, said: “But what happens whenever you see a group of women huddled around a new baby?”

Humph even I had to admit they could get pretty raucous as well!

However, it turned out that the chooks didn’t have a monopoly on melodrama. That night, the rooster who is never one to hide in the shadows, pushed passed the hens and back onto centre stage.

I was half-asleep when I heard noises outside. First, there was the spooked rantings of the Guinea Fowl whose call sounds something like a duck impersonating a donkey. This was followed by a series of very mournful crows from the rooster. This didn’t sound good. It didn’t sound good at all!! Guinea fowl are very territorial and defensive and therefore make excellent snake alarms. Given the sequence of sounds, I figured the Guinea fowl had seen a snake which had got into the chook shed and eaten the rooster’s harem and now he was now singing “All By Myself”.

It wouldn’t be the first time that a snake had invaded the chook shed or perhaps it was a fox which had attacked with such devastating results but either way, I suspected that all the chooks were dead.

So there I was lying in bed while the chooks were under attack and a snake was on the loose. Did I finally hear that heroic call to action and leap from my bed and grabbing a huge, humungus stick, run yelling and screaming and probably barefoot through the yard finally coming to the rescue ?

Or, did I stay put. Go back to sleep.

Of course, I went back to sleep. Who do you take me for? Some death-defying Bindi Irwin or Crocodile Dundee scaring off snakes in my bare feet? Not on your life. While I might be a firm believer in the Golden Rule and not one to ignore the sufferings of others, there are times when nature simply has to take its course. When you don’t want be rescuing the rescuer as well.

Besides, I told myself, it was probably already too late. There was nothing I could do anyway. The chooks were already dead.

Eventually, I went back to sleep.

The morning after the carnage, I sheepishly asked my brother-in-law how many chooks they’d lost overnight. I braced myself for the worst and dreaded having to tell him that I’d heard it all happen and did nothing about it. I did nothing at all to help save those poor, innocent chooks before that fiendish snake snatched them away to their death. This amounts to some kind of personal treason because I really try to live and breathe by the Golden Rule and if I was a chook being swallowed by a diamond python, I’d definitely want someone to get out of bed and whack that @#$% snake with whatever it took to save my life. That’s what you do.You don’t ignore it!

After all, it’s an ancient farm motto: “The only good snake, is a dead snake”.

However, my inquiry and incredible guilt were met with blank stares. Once again, he’d thought I’d gone stark raving mad and was probably rethinking whether city relatives should be allowed anywhere near the farm. It was like I was reporting back about a foreign film. The sort which don’t have sub-titles and the meaning somehow gets lost in the translation.

I explained how I’d heard the Guinea Fowl barking and the rooster howling during the night and suspected the worst.

Fortunately, everyone in the chook shed and the Guinea Fowl had been accounted for. There had been not midnight massacre in at all and definitely not the dire snake attack I’d envisaged.

It had simply been a full moon.

Please don’t ask me why the full moon sent them all troppo. It’s not like I can go and interview them demanding a “please explain!” I’ll just have to file this under one of life’s many, unexplained mysteries…especially as we don’t have Internet access and I can’t go and consult my Google Guru.I’m on my own.

know all this thinking about snakes and shadows sounds like the product of an over-active imagination but the snakes are real.We know they’re out there. I’m not talking about make-believe shadows and imaginary monsters. This is real. However, it is a matter of learning to live with the snakes, developing respect and watching where I’m going. Indeed, given the snakes are a known threat, they’re actually not so great a risk. It’s what we don’t know we don’t know which is much more likely to get us!

xx Rowena

Snake Bait

“Quick kids! Get inside! There’s a Black Snake out there. No! Don’t run. Just walk. Watch where you’re going. Think!”

Isn’t that how any normal parent would react if there was a venomous Black Snake anywhere near their precious kids?!!

Of course!

But…NOT yours truly! I all but yawned and kept eating my Weetbix. I didn’t raise the alarm at all!! Without my morning caffeine boost, I was “non compos mentis”, mostly dead but still somehow alive….a virtual zombie. 

Out of the corner of my eye, I’d seen a sliver of Black Snake slithering through the freshly mowed grass and under the barbed-wire fence and into the cow paddock next door. Australian Geographic rates the Black Snake as Australia’s 10th most deadly snake and while unlikely to kill you, the venom causes blood-clotting disorder and muscle and nerve damage, enough to knock you off your feet http://www.australiangeographic.com.au/topics/science-environment/2012/07/australias-10-most-dangerous-snakes/

Although I registered seeing the snake, I blinked and it was gone. It didn’t seem real. More like a hallucination or apparition than the potentially life-threatening emergency it was…a deadly snake!

I kept eating my Weetbix.It takes a long time for me to wake up in the morning and switch from my surreal dream state into someone remotely functional.

Stopping to photograph the sugar cane and the approaching storm clouds near Grafton.

Stopping to photograph the sugar cane and the approaching storm clouds near Grafton.

Although Geoff had driven the entire way to Byron Bay, being a passenger also took its toll on me. Even after a good night’s sleep, I could still feel the car’s rumbling vibrations pulsating through me, the long-distance driving equivalent of “sea legs”. It also takes me a good day to adjust to my new surroundings, even though Geoff’s sister’s place is our home away from home. Just call me “slow”…even cold-blooded.

Anyway, Geoff stuck his head through the door, probably to check whether I was still alive, when he spotted the snake out the window. A man of action, unlike his more philosophical wife, he went straight outside to raise the alarm. The kids were out there picking mulberries and while they weren’t near the snake, there were no guarantees that “Joe Blake” (Australian rhyming slang for snake) didn’t have a few mates also sunning themselves out there in the grass.

What nobody usually tells you about Byron Bay and the surrounding regions is that they’re populated with snakes. Sure, they might not be found grinning on local postcards and there certainly aren’t any “Beware of the Snake” signs anywhere either. These are the sort of thing you leave out of your tourism brochures and “Welcome to Byron Bay” greetings. Not good for tourism.

However, that doesn’t mean they’re not there.

Geoff grew up on a farm in NE Tasmania where his Dad wasn’t the only one who boasted “the only good snake is a dead snake”. Dad’s brother had been bitten by a snake out in the bush when he was a boy and in Tasmania, any kind of snake is deadly poisonous, especially to a kid. So, this was quite a serious, life-threatening incident, which stayed with him for life. There was another story where Dad had spotted a Tiger Snake in the paddock at work. Dad was heading for the shed to find his gun but the snake, who was equally spooked and looking for “an out”, also took off down the paddock. Indeed, the snake was apparently keeping pace with Dad in what must have been the incarnation of his very worst fears, although I can’t help seeing it as a cross-country race with a difference. Yikes! They’re made of strong stuff down there in Tassie!

So, when it came to dealing with snakes, Geoff was no novice.

Although Geoff was quick off the mark to warn the kids, he didn’t press the panic button. He walked calmly because you don’t run around snakes. You stand still and pretend to be a tree. Besides, we’re quite used to snakes being around the farm. That said, when it comes to live snakes out on the loose, we’ve only seen the more benign carpet snake, which used to be curled up in the rafters in the garage, looking about as energetic as Homer Simpson in front of the TV eating donuts. Yet, just because we haven’t seen snakes out in the grass, that doesn’t mean we haven’t seen the evidence such as a six foot snake skin left dangling from the barbed wire fence overnight. There are also the stories and I’m not talking about the bush equivalent of the urban myth but first-hand, local accounts. One mum we knew had found a snake curled up underneath her son’s Tonka truck one morning. She found it because locals check under everything. Snakes don’t discriminate. Anything could be a potential “home”.

Anyway, the kids were outside picking mulberries and I can just imagine the deep purple juice staining their lips and running down their fingers. Mulberry picking is such a quintessential part of childhood like Twinkle Twinkle, wobbly-falling out teeth and Summers at the beach. Of course, none of these glorious visions include a poisonous, potentially deadly Black Snake lurking in the grass and an ambulance ride to Emergency.

Yummy mulberries.

Yummy mulberries.

Turns out the kids weren’t keen on any close encounters with snakes either. Once Geoff had told them about the snake, they promptly decided they had enough mulberries and came inside to eat the fruits of the harvest. Phew!

The kids eating the mulberries they'd picked on the farm, while I spotted a snake.

The kids eating the mulberries they’d picked on the farm, while I spotted a snake.

Unfortunately, this didn’t mean the snake saga was over as such. It was more like a mutual stand off. After all, the snake probably didn’t want to see us anymore than we wanted to see it…a form of mutual “respect”.

Have you had any encounters with dangerous local wildlife? Do tell!

xx Rowena

PS I’m now home and in the process of typing up all my tales from last week. I didn’t have a computer with me and they’re all hand-written in the journal which might sound rustically romantic but it’s a pain getting them sorted out.

Sydney – Newrybar – Byron Bay: Weekend Coffee Share.

If we were having coffee today, I’d be talking so fast, filling your head with so many stories, photos and flashing such an array of treasures at you, that nothing would be making any sense at all.

It would all just be merging into a chaotic, kaleidoscopic blur.

The Kaleidoscope.

Mesmerized by such a kaleidoscope of images. Photographed this at Zakay Glass Creations Gallery, Bangalow.

I can hear you now: “Slow down!Take a deep breath! Calm Down! I can’t understand a word you’re saying…especially with that unintelligible, Australian accent.”

So, bursting with impatience by now, you could well be hitting me over the head with what we Australians call a “lump of 4 x 2” (pronounced fourbetwo”) We’re basically talking about the Australia version of hitting someone over the head with a baseball bat. A fence paling would do the job. Figuratively-speaking, this is how Australians knock sense into a blabbering mess like me.

Anyway, just to put you in the picture, we’ve been on holidays at Newrybar.

“Newrybar? Where the heck is Newrybar?” You ask.

“What do you mean you haven’t heard of Newrybar?? Where have you been hiding????”

Okay. Get your passport. Take the first available flight to Sydney, Australia. You could just catch a connecting flight to nearby Ballina Airport but why miss out on all the fun of a 10-13 hour 800 KM drive? After all, taking the Pacific Highway up the coast is such an Australian experience?!!

Just a friendly reminder to you peoples in the Northern hemisphere that heading North in Australia means it is getting warmer…we fly North for the Winter and definitely try not to fly South!

So, I naturally recommend hiring a car from the airport and driving. By the way, make sure you drive over the Sydney Harbour Bridge, instead of taking the tunnel under the harbour. You definitely do not want to miss The Bridge and the stunning harbour views, which also take in the Sydney Opera House when you crane your neck. Yet, somehow, you’ll need to keep your eyes on the road while taking in these views and if you’re not used to driving on the left hand side of the road, that will even complicate matters further and you could well be having a nasty accident.

There are further sights along the way. You can take the Sommersby exit near Gosford and visit the Australian Reptile Park and don’t miss out on the Big Banana at Coffs Harbour, which is roughly halfway to Newrybar and when you see the Macadamia Castle you are almost at Newrybar.

I don't think this quite puts Newrybar on the map.

I don’t think this quite puts Newrybar on the map.

Located half an hour’s drive in Byron Bay’s lush green Hinterland, Newrybar’s main claim to fame at this time of year, is the snakes. It’s currently mating season and the grass is full of amorous Romeos and Juliets, just waiting to strike at any unsuspecting feet. After spotting a deadly black snake slithering through the grass while eating my Weetbix the other day, you can take it from me that you need to look where you’re going.

However, in addition to the snakes there’s the Harvest Cafe, which is well-regarded, an antique shop and a few B & Bs…and a petrol station and small grocery store. Definitely, no major anythings, which is such a part of it’s natural, unspoiled charm.

This week has simply been too much for me to compress into anything coherent.

I have been feasting with my eyes. Pigging out. Gorging myself. Eating, Eating,Eating. Stuffing myself eyeful, after eyeful after eyeful. Surprising even myself how much I could somehow stuff I could keep stuffing in without somehow triggering the regurgitation switch. Through some absolute incomprehensible miracle, my eyeballs just kept expanding and expanding like an exceptionally generous, elastic waistband and I’m completely mystified about why they haven’t exploded…just like Mr Creosote’s unforgettable effort in Monty Python’s: The Meaning of Life: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aczPDGC3f8U

My eyes are even fuller than my over-packed, set-to-explode suitcase.

That says it all!!

With eyes the size of thunder thighs, I’m now needing some kind of specially –designed, see-through “eye bra” . Or, perhaps it’s already too late for that. An eye mask ensuring complete darkness, could well be required by now.

The kids near Byron Bay Lighthouse.

The kids near Byron Bay Lighthouse.

Yet, this incredible, sensual smorgasbord hasn’t simply been visual.

Nature’s music is just as breathtakingly awesome. The sun has set and right now, I’m soaking in the chorus of croaking frogs outside. Yet, that’s not all. There’s the budgie’s chitter-chatter and the flutter of their feathered wings. My in-laws also have Guinea fowl, the strangest sounding birds you’ll ever come across. All week, we’re been debating how to best describe their call. Suggestions have ranged from “constipated duck”, “donkey” and a “squeaky gate”. Finally the penny dropped and Geoff and both agreed they sound like a “duck impersonating a donkey”. That’s a very weird noise!

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.

Wategos Beach, Byron Bay.

However, while we’ve been awestruck by stunning beaches, lush green pastures, birds and butterflies fluttering through the leaves and such incredible artistic inspiration; these “roses” haven’t been without their “thorns”.

The morning after our arrival, I was half-asleep and hadn’t quite adjusted to my new surrounds, when I spotted a deadly, venomous Black Snake, slithering over the grass and over the wire fence into the cow paddock next door.

For some strange reason, even though the kids were outside picking mulberries, for some strange reason, I didn’t raise the alarm. That said, they were out of sight and further afield.

However, as soon as Geoff saw the snake, he was out of there, letting them know. Not that the kids were scared of the snake at all but for some strange reason, they immediately decided that they’d “picked enough mulberries”!

Updating our annual family photo at the Byron Bay Lighthouse.

Updating our annual family photo at the Byron Bay Lighthouse.

Getting back to the beauty of Byron Bay, what you might not appreciate is a local phenomenon known as “Byron Time”. This has nothing at all to do with traditional time zones or being on “Holiday Time”. Indeed, when it comes to Byron Time you could say the region has fallen off the grid and gone AWOL. You just throw your watch out the window of your Kombi when you drive into town and succumb to the more intuitive forces at work around here… or, more likely, not at work at all. The other night, when the fish & chips shop was closed, we were told that “it only opens when he feels like it”. Although you might wonder how you can operate a business like that, he’s been in business for years. That said, his fish and chips are incredibly good but it’s not the first time we’ve missed out!

Loved this quote spotted at Poet Bookshop in nearby Bangalow.

Loved this quote spotted at Poet Bookshop in nearby Bangalow.

However, perhaps the greatest tragedy of Byron Time isn’t missing out on fish & chips. It’s having to go home and Byron Time stops just as tragically as that broken antique fob watch, filed at the back of Grandpa’s drawer.

Tragically, we’ll be leaving early tomorrow morning to drive home.

Speaking of clocks, time and tomorrow, at midnight tonight NSW switches to daylight savings time and we gain and hour, lose an hour or just get thoroughly mixed up. Either way, the start of daylight savings means: “It’s Summer”.

Bring it on!

The kids eating the mulberries they'd picked on the farm, while I spotted a snake.

The kids eating the mulberries they’d picked on the farm, while I spotted the snake.

Just before I head off to reload the coffee cup, just a last word of travel advice.

Don’t forget to pack your SLR camera charger. I’d charged my camera up before we left like a very well-prepared Scout but managed to leave it behind. After visiting multiple camera shops in two different cities, we couldn’t find a suitable replacement. That forced me to use my phone. There I was a serious amateur photographer, looking like Maxwell Smart using his shoe phone. Oh! The humiliation of it all! However, worse was yet to come. I put the phone in my pocket to go to the toilet and the next thing I knew, it had done a kamikaze dive straight to the very bottom. Following immediate CPR, it spent the next two days in a “rice spa” to dry out while I fretted about whether all those precious photos had been lost, not to mention my contacts. Fortunately, it recovered but meanwhile I was using the kids’ i pads. While, I’ll begrudgingly admit the photos weren’t that bad, I won’t be hanging up my SLR any time soon.

Meanwhile, the kettle calls. Dinner is boiling over and it’s time to go!

By the way, the Weekend Coffee Share is hosted by Part Time Monster.  You can join this week’s Coffee Share on her blog or by clicking on the “Linky“.  In fact, I encourage you to click on the “linky” to see what’s been going on in the lives of other bloggers and even join us if you haven’t before!

I also came across this great post by Corina at Wasted Days & Wasted Nights where she talks about the Love Rocks she makes and gives to people grieving or going through a hard time.  https://corinajoyc.wordpress.com/2015/10/03/rocks-stubborness-other-tough-things/

Hope you’ve had a great week!

xx Rowena