For my second "holiday from my holiday" I spent a couple of days in Coolangatta with Juli Carter and her new (to me!) family. It has been a gorgeous and peaceful time. I had a lovely start with a quick chat while awaiting our respective planes at Sydney airport. The conversation was easy and plentiful throughout the weekend. Keith is a good egg and Amelie the peach I expected! She is 19 months and at that wonderful stage of blossoming communication. I had fun being Aunty Emma! I even managed my second nap of the year away. That's right folks, I really am on holiday. I have been reading Sense and Sensibility on my Valentine's Day Kindle and enjoying this time a lot before I head back to camp to become school ma'am and camp cook once again! PS. I can't wait to see the boys...
Launceston airport was our first point of call as Emma was ditching us again to meet up with Juli and her family, who were out from SF California. The boys and I waved (waived) her off, and headed up the Tamar Valley to Beauty Point.
After what had been a fairly ordinary day of schooling, with significant amounts of gnashing of teeth, we decided on a different approach for Thursday. It was time to hit the road and see the northwest.
There was a promise of Wombats....many wombats....but only as dusk came on would they all come out to feed.
After arriving in Devonport, we made our way slowly through customs, and headed out to the Adventist campground just south of the main city. I had organised for us to stay there a few days earlier, to make sure that we could get in etc. We turned up at the gate to find that there was not a soul there. Not one other person staying in the whole campground. We chose a spot under a tree for shade and hooked up to the power. No electricity! I thought I would go and check out the rest of the facilities only to find the amenities block locked, the laundry closed and nobody answering the telephone at the office. So we set about a night of free camping.
It was an early start in Bayswater, but having done a deal of the packing up the night before, we managed to leave only a little after our scheduled departure time of 0630 and after a brief journey, returned to give our set of keys back to Jo and Simon. We arrived at the dock at Port Melbourne at a little after 0730 and spent the next hour and a half snaking our way around the dock while everyone got loaded onto the Spirit of Tasmania 1. It was a sparkling morning in Melbourne, and our excitement grew as we got closer to boarding the ship.
Saying goodbye to Malachi, the 16 year old son of my cousin Felicity, was always going to be a hard part of our trip. Malachi had been fighting glioblastoma multiforme for a little under two years. His funeral, burial and wake were a wonderful tribute to the wise, brave and fun loving person he was. It was so great to be surrounded by the warmth of the tightknit extended McDougall family; catching up with some, and seeing the kids get to know others for the first time, was really so beautiful. Malachi obviously knew about the relationships that were restored through his illness - facing death sure helps everyone to get a better perspective. The celebration of his life brought together many others. Thankyou God, for Malachi's life.
From bright, the Spence and Tenorio families took a trip past Falls Creek, to Wallaces Hut. It was a beautiful day when we left Bright, with expected maximum temp to be 31C. The road to the Bogong High Plains was steep and winding and there were a few moments when select occupants of both cars felt a little queasy.
From Albury, the boys and I drove to Bright in the Victorian foothills. It's such a pretty town, and our campsite was right by the river ovens.
It was a challenge to get all the usual stuff done as well as the school work, without Emma there to help, but we managed to muddle our way through, even though we did get a little behind. It was great to have the Spence family with us, and there was a lot of scooting and riding of bikes done, with only minimal injuries!