Isaac was a wonderful help to me the next morning. We were packed and out of the place by 10. No time for school that day. We met up with the Spences along the road, after my first fuel stop, and made our way to Pemberton.
Coming into the Big Brook Arboretum camping spot the Spences car overheated. I got quite a surprise as I came round the corner to a stationary van. After some evasive manouvres to avoid running up the back of Shannon, I pulled up in front of them. Thankfully, Paul had bought some demineralised water a couple of weeks earlier which we hadn't actually used, that we were able to put into their radiator. We had been just about to use it for washing as you couldn't drink it and it was just taking up space! Being in front after that, I missed the turn off to the campsite and had to snake back about 50-100m. It was great reversing practice!! I was determined to see it all as a positive and I suppose it was, as at the campsite my first solo van reverse park was a smooth as! It was a massive wide site, but still was very nice for the confidence. As I hopped out of the car the gentleman sitting at the fire beside me gave me a 9 ½ out of 10 for my park! Thanks neighbour! If it had been a 4, which some of mine have been, I probably wouldn’t have appreciated the unsolicited appraisal!
We spent a really lovely couple of days amidst the trees. A few memorable events to note.
Climbing to our fear limits and just a little beyond them up the bicentennial tree, and one of the other giants. Actually, Sascha had to be asked to stay within my fear limits, we never reached his!! I managed 25 m up and felt pretty proud. Next time its the whole thing!!
The kids bridge building, as a team, intermittently over the whole weekend.
And the termites. I learned while up in the Territory about the lifecycle of termites. Once a year millions head out to try to establish a new home. On our way back to camp one of the days we seemed to drive into cloud of insects and never come out of it. There were insects filling the air at about 1 or 2 per square foot of air over at number of kms. It was unpleasant to be outside as they were all over you, down your top and in your hair. By the next morning there were only a couple left around. Most had dropped their wings and were making a go of it on the ground all in our chairs and so on! Frustrating as it was, it was great to witness the colonising flight.
I tried to get the blog updated and managed one large, long overdue entry. As i clicked on "publish live" it disappeared! I was quite concerned it was gone for good and it had taken ages to do. I knew it was somewhere, just where was the issue. I completely lost my mojo for doing the last few bits to get up to date. Paul eventually found it, after he returned, in October 2012! Aha!
The boys and I did the obligatory drive and walk around Circular Pool, the Tingle trees, and the Treetop Walk. We loved the massive Tingles. We didn't remember to bring the camera to Circular pool but that was pretty special also. My fear of heights is really diminishing, with the constant exposures this year. I felt hardly concerned at all at 40m up and swaying with my footsteps. In contrast, earlier this year, I was really terrified going up the Shot Tower in Tassie. But there I was actually worried the whole thing could collapse as it was so old. At Treetops I felt very confident of the engineering of the walkway. So I guess I am not that afraid of heights now, exactly. It is heights that I could actually fall from/might give way under me that really get to me!
We just also happened to come at the right time for the Albany show. Highlights for us were watching the fireworks from the caravan site, the poultry shed, the alpacas and the rides. There were some pretty big chooks and lots of cute chooks and the occasional empty cage. Sascha’s unsolicited remark “That one’s been taken for questioning” made us laugh. The alpacas were stretched out to be shorn, some acting like they were in a day spa and others just like they were on the rack. It was quite a presentation! The kids had a go in some inflated plastic balls rolling around on a pool. They all enjoyed that except Lil when hers leaked. Isaac and Sasch finished with a big swing which Sascha enjoyed and Isaac survived. Dom missed out on the bungee tramp as it was being dismantled by the time we got there. Some hot chips, doughnuts and a waffle healed the pain of disappointment fairly adequately.
The next morning we went to the Boatshed Markets and loaded up on fresh local delicious food. Around midday we got Paul from the airport. Hurray! The afternoon we spent at Whale World, the last whaling station to work in Australia. It was a poignant and informative afternoon. The whales are now in the process of being saved but what about the sharks and the rest of the overfished oceans? The boys especially enjoyed running all over the Cheynes IV, the last whaling ship, in the blustery, southern wind.
Dinner was a delicious, fresh from the market affair with goats cheese, bread, good olive oil, Isaac’s special Margaret River cherry balsamic, pears and strawberries. Paul then unpacked his bag and gave us our presents. The boys received their T-shirts, nutella and toiletries from the plane, I got my little black dress, and there was a Two Greedy Italians cookbook for all of us. Yay!