Mar. 31st, 2012

crazyjane: (Default)
Yes, a travel diary. Not a rant, not political analysis. Try not to be alarmed.

In a vain attempt to actually acquire some form of writing discipline, I decided that it would be a Good Thing if I took my newly-acquired tablet on holiday - my oh-so-shiny ASUS Transformer Prime, thank you soooo much, [profile] fire_wuff and why yes, that is a shameless piece of promotion, I'll take my kickbacks in the form of new hardware ... ahem.

Of course, to do that, one rather requires a holiday. How fortunate, then, that Wuff's parents offered us a week at one of their timeshare places over the school holidays.

So here we are ... somewhere just off the Great Ocean Road, off on a family holiday. For a week. All of us. Together.

This entry was actually written yesterday (March 30), but Dreamwidth is not exactly mobile-compatible, so I'm not able to make backdating work. Let's pretend ... pretend we are travelling back in time ... cue the sci-fi music and the wavery vision.

* * * * *

March 30

The place itself is quite 'nice' - we have one of those terribly bland, characterless units, where the furniture is bought in bulk from Fantastic Furniture and the prints are from K-Mart. Not that I was expecting five stars, but occasionally a few touches of individuality, even if it's only in the form of one of those creepy cat clocks with the pendulum tail and ticking eyes. On second thought, that might not attract the kind of clients you really want ...

The kids are back to sharing a room ... you can guess how that worked out come bedtime. Yep, even though we let them stay up late, turned down the TV and did everything short of force-feeding them Valium thickshakes (only kidding, Human Services), they were still awake as of a few minutes ago - after 11pm. Still, it might mean they sleep in tomorrow morning.

Who am I kidding?

There's an animal farm here, with everything from geese to rabbits to emus to alpacas. Lilygirl was hilariously funny with the geese - she's never experienced how aggressive they can be! I think she was more put out than anything by these long-necked 'giant ducks' hissing at her. Still, there's animal feeding time later this week, so I expect cuddling a few bunnies and guinea pigs will restore her sense of dignity.

The 'resort' (actually, it's a 'country club', which is a high-falutin' name for it) has a pool and spa that I can actually use - although guess who forgot to pack bike shorts? Looks like a trip to the House of Target is in order.

I can apparently get a massage, too, so that's going to be my treat for the week.

Wuff is getting a belated birthday present on Monday - a ride in a Tiger Moth open cockpit plane, complete with 'extreme aerobatics'. He went a little green when I mentioned that last part, but he was like a kid with a toy at the news. There's an 'adventure park' - which appears to consist of a BMX track, a few old grounded planes and possibly a dam on which one can paddle a kayak - so the kids can keep themselves occupied while he's doing that. I plan to make some popcorn, sit back and watch the show from the safety of the picnic area.

And don't say I never do anything for you, faithful flist ... the whole thing will be videotaped from the cockpit.

We haven't made much in the way of plans yet - there are a few activities here at the resort, like pancake breakfasts, and the kids will go to an evening moving on Wednesday (giving me and Wuff some downtime) - but there is heaps to do in the region. I'm hoping we can go fishing at least one day, and take the kids down to Bells Beach (although, with the Rip Curl Pro starting this week, we may go to Torquay instead), and there are quite a few wineries around the place. Since we just happen to have some wine glasses supplied in the unit, and we just happen to have received our FTB refund, I think some judicious purchases may well be in order. Besides, it's our duty to support local industry, right? :)

Speaking of local industry, we've also found two local berry farms, three potteries (something to do with the soil around here, apparently), two home-made ice cream shops, galleries (indigenous and modern) and markets.

Then there's a possible day trip to Queenscliff to look at the historic buildings and take the ferry across to Point Lonsdale, a drive down to see the Twelve Apostles, Split Point Lighthouse ... I think we'll need two weeks!

As I write, the children appear to be finally unconscious, so I'll close now. Wuff has warned me that they plan to do a 'special' breakfast tomorrow morning.

Dear lord.
crazyjane: (Default)
In which yr obt correspondent ventures braves the elements, ventures into unknown territory, and ... goes shopping.

Yes, dear readers, I survived my first full day in the wilds of Bellbrae, armed only with eleven-year-old twins and a newly-shaven [profile] fire_wuff (don't ask, just don't. The kids dared him to do it, but they never thought he'd go through with it).

I have to confess, though, it is with the help of Tramadol. Argh. Between packing, unpacking, wandering around the resort, and then today's expedition, my arthritis knees are singing the Marseillaise almost non-stop, and threatening to break out with renditions of the 1812 Overture.

Today was remarkably domestic, all things considered (she said, looking around at the disturbingly clean kitchenette). This isn't like me at all.

The beds here are rather soft, although not as horrendously marshmallow-like as I'd feared. I'm certainly glad I brought my own pillow, though. It was a remarkably peaceful night, right up until the dawn chorus. Bah. Country. The lone magpie warbling in the twilight wasn't so bad, although he could have moved just a little further away. But he set off the rosellas, who set off the kookaburra ... and then the geese woke up. My god. What a racket. They should record that sound and use it to terrify enemy troops, or for 'enhanced interrogation', or something. I'm sure it's against the Geneva Convention.

As I mentioned in yesterday's missive, the kids had decided to surprise us with breakfast. Wuff, blessed with the power of persuading-kids-not-to-destroy-expensive-real-estate-while-having-fun, managed to convince them that he should supervise their cooking in an unknown kitchen. With that crisis averted, we were forced to face the fact that we'd brought very little food with us from home - frankly, we'd simply grabbed what was perishable, and a few things like pepper and salt, tea and sugar and a lone ruby grapefruit. (Lilygirl was most upset to discover we'd forgotten to pack tomato sauce.)

Nonetheless, we had a few eggs and rashers of bacon, so we scraped together a remarkably good meal of bacon and scrambled eggs, toast and grilled tomato, and ate on the patio. Our unit overlooks the geese enclosure (horrid, loud creatures) and the feed troughs for the larger animals, which contributed to a sense of fellow-feeling with our beastly brethren - okay, okay, I'll stop. That was too ridiculous even for me.

After breakfast, I went down to the animal farm area, and made the acquaintance of a rather friendly goat. Her companion, however, had definitely gotten up on the wrong side of the field this morning, and took it out by head-butting everything in sight. All in all, she rather resembled a rugby player on a Saturday night after a losing game.

The horses - two lovely chestnuts, one with a white blaze - were not interested in making the acquaintance of anything that did not involve their feed. Likewise the donkeys had little time for us, though I did manage to take a picture of the grey one, who dipped his head most obligingly. Hopefully I can post that - and other pictures - tomorrow.

The chickens were wonderfully fluffy. I have very little familiarity with chook breeds, so 'fluffy' is about the best I can do. The majority were red-brown in colour, but there were two darker, exceptionally fluffy hens who sported splendid pantaloons of which they were clearly proud - and rightly so.

At the animals-that-make-you-go-awwwwww enclosure, the girls were given wonderful opportunity. The man in charge of the farm was just about to feed the rabbit and guinea pig, and offered the girls a chance to come into the enclosure and have a cuddle, without having to compete with the other kids on the resort. Well. It's possible they came close to exploding from delight. It was actually wonderful to watch - Lilygirl has been a little grumpy of late (impending puberty, dear god), so to see her and Meglet so happy made a lovely change.

After that experience, the aviary was a bit of an anti-climax. The birds were completely uninterested in doing anything other than sitting on their perches. That, actually, turned out to be a very smart choice, as we were hit with something of a mini dust storm that blew all the loose topsoil up into our faces and our clothing. When we got back to the unit, we all looked like we'd just come in from a long trek across the desert. My scalp was red with dust. Urgh.

After cleaning up, we headed into Waurn Ponds to see if a pair of bike shorts could be found for me, so I could use the spa. Failing that, I was prepared to settle for tracksuit pants that I could hack off at the knees. Luckily the House of Target came to the rescue, and, amongst all the newly-arrived winter clothing, Wuff found a pair of plus-size bike shorts. And two pairs of leggings. And a dark plum windcheater. And a long blue top with thin stripes in rust, pockets and an asymmetrical hem. And - most gloriously - a beautiful deep blue man's shirt, with pinstripes in a kind of dark lavender colour. Finally, a shirt with which I can wear my purple tie, a birthday present from my wonderful daughter, Falcon!

Having scored all of that wonderful loot - and at discount prices, I might add! - we moved on to the mundane business of shopping for groceries for the week. It was an intensely frustrating experience. I never realised that I'd become quite so used to buying in bulk, to last as long possible between shops - something that increasing difficulty with mobility, combined with Wuff needing to travel quite a bit for work, has necessitated. But we managed it, and then indulged at the bakery, and the butcher.

We came back to Bellbrae via Torquay, and stopped for a while at a lookout over the ocean beach. There were about a dozen windsurfers taking advantage of what looked like a good wind. The girls and Wuff went for a short walk, while I stayed to rest in the car.

I have missed the smell of the ocean. I have missed looking out over the blue to the deep indigo of the horizon, that always looks a little smudged, like some unseen artist has run their thumb lightly across the line where the water and the sky meet. I love the foam, like freshly-shorn fleece, left behind by the whitecaps when they crash against the rocks - and there are some gorgeous rocks around Torquay, rising up out of the sea like exotic chess pieces striped in red and brown.

And, even with cars coming and going, surfers and beach-walkers crossing in front of my vision, the sound of competing ringtones and kids either squealing with delight or whining with exhaustion - it was so peaceful. I could almost feel my spirit take a deep breath.

There's nothing mystical or occult or magical about it - beyond the beautiful, unbelievably complex, glorious fact that it just is. That it came to be through a process so fantastically intricate that it could produce the ocean, and me, and everything in the whole ... fucking ... universe.



After that, there's not much more to tell about today. We came back to Bellbrae, and had a slap-up dinner with the help of the bbq, where Wuff performed his usual culinary magic. (Excuse me while I pause for a moment to indulge in the memory of the utterly delicious rib-eye steak that graced my plate.) The kitchen is ... clean. No, I mean really clean. Of course, it was wonderful actually having a dishwasher to simply take care of the washing-up for me (first time I've ever had one!), but I find I'm actually enjoying keeping this place neat. I even hung up our clothes last night

I'm sure it will pass.

Wuff took the kids swimming after dinner, but that's a pleasure that will have to wait until tomorrow for me, I think.

I have just now accomplished something of a personal victory. Menaced by a Giant Arachnid of Doom ... well, okay, it wasn't that big - but there was definitely Doom involved, I swear - I managed not to be more than a little bit squicked. Those tender-hearted readers who deal gently with such creatures may wish to look away now ...



And there we have it. Day Two. Tomorrow will be animal feeding, wherein I shall try to convince the organisers that my inner child should be allowed to take part - or at least, to cuddle a bunny. Following that, winery visits - and there are at least seven in close proximity, so we should be able to get to all of them. The kids may have to be bribed with chocolate, as donkey-petting and hunting for eggs in the chook house will likely only hold them for half the afternoon.

Note to self: buy a few bottles of really good red for tomorrow night's pasta. One needs a choice, after all ...


Wuff and the kids have just returned from the pool, Meglet howling and clutching her face. Apparently she was attempting an acrobatic manoeuvre, and bashed her face against the wall of the pool instead. Unfortunately she's chipped and cracked her front tooth, and is understandably distressed and in dire need of cuddles. It doesn't appear to have exposed the nerve, but it looks like we might have to take her to a dentist to make sure.

Poor Meglet. Not a happy thing at any time, but especially not on holiday.

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