Tuesday, 27 May 2014

end of an era


When you live in a place for twenty odd years you tend to accumulate stuff, even if you are a serious non-hoarder like myself. This last weekend we sorted, packed, trashed, stored and cleaned. We filled a skip and off loaded possessions left, right and centre. Our Melbourne house is now a shell. For three days we laboured, long and hard (with some help from the kids). Our stiff and sore bodies testament to all we achieved. I aspire to never wash another wall in my life. I did take the camera intending to record the momentous occasion but was far too busy to even take it out of the case. The significance of the event was also somewhat dwarfed by the tight time frame and the enormous amount to be done.
But done it is, well mostly. A gardener and handyman will continue in our absence and in a week or so we will return to finish what we began and then it will be handed over to an agent, ready for rent. We are not really sure how we feel. Our family home holds so many precious memories – the story of our lives and dreams lived out in these walls, two decades of love and joy and sometimes struggle and sorrow.
To be honest I never liked the house as such, we bought it because we could afford it not because we liked it and it was many, many years before we could begin to make changes so that it could feel like our own. And now at the end I feel a fondness for an ugly old friend that was slowly transformed over the years, a home that became a significant part of a beautiful life…

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

graduating


Number two is on her way. A couple of weeks ago, before travelling North to the Daintree, we flew South to Melbourne to attend Heidi’s University Graduation. It was a significant event, the culmination and celebration of four years of hard work.
Lets be honest, graduation ceremonies are boring. All those family and friends sitting through pomp and ceremony, boring speeches and an endless list of names being called out and black garbed students entering one side of the stage and exiting the other, just to hear your child’s name called out and see them walk across that stage and receive that bit of paper, all 15 seconds of it. And your heart swells with pride and your eyes get teary and it’s all worth it. Graduation says ‘it is done’, you have achieved and completed what you set out to do.
Heidi’s graduation coincided with her moving out of the family home in Melbourne, one significant event on top of another. It has been a joy to see and share her excitement in making a home of her own. We look forward to visiting her and Alex in their place, just as we do Zac and Jan. The small steps of childhood and adolescent independence have become leaps and bounds as our children have become adults in every sense of the word. Like most parents there is a tinge of sadness at the realisation of what has passed and what has been lost, along with that though is immense pride and joy at the most amazing young adults they have become. Parenting just keeps getting better, all those years of hard work paying off big time!
(the photo is not one of mine)

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

the daintree

Last year we started ticking things off my mother’s bucket list (going camping, watching the sun rise on the East Coast of Australia and riding a roller coaster). Spending the last few days in the Daintree Rainforest has seen her tick off another. Her desire to enjoy the rainforest birds and see a green tree frog were realised. Johanna wanted to see a crocodile (in the wild) and we were lucky enough to see that as well.
enjoying the view from Daintree Manor, our B and B

Tweety, the friendly resident at Daintree Manor

a misty, drizzly moment in the rainforest

The Rainforest captivated us with its unfamiliar plants and amazing wildlife, the mozzies the one exception. We learned about rainforest plants and trees and the vines that grow up them seeking light, the root systems of the mangroves and saw first hand the destruction caused by floods and recent cyclones. 
a green canopy above

wonderful muddy mangroves

taking a moment to enjoy a magical place

the colour green

We explored the Daintree River in a boat at dusk and saw birds and butterflies, bats and crocodiles and a green tree frog. A good many of the animals spotted were by torchlight, when it grew dark, the amazing eyes of our guide picking out minute specks far in the distance, including the jewel like sparkles of a multitude of brown spider eyes.
We couldn’t resist a couple of side trips to local beaches. Much to Colin’s dismay the beautiful coastline is for looking at not swimming in – stingers and crocodiles a successful deterrent. He and Johanna amused themselves on the beach tossing around a fallen coconut and swinging from a rope tied high on a palm tree. Colin did manage to find a safe swimming hole and got his water fix, it also happened to be a most picturesque spot.
coconut catch at Cow Bay

a rope hanging from a palm tree
is just asking to be swung on

Mason's Hole, Colin finally got his swim

Colin returned to Melbourne on Monday, Johanna, my mother and I had a couple of days in Cairns. We rode the Sky Rail and the Scenic Railway to and from Kuranda and took a ferry out to Fitzroy Island visiting the Turtle Rehabilitation Centre and looking at coral through a glass bottomed boat. (managing to keep mostly dry on a very grey and drizzly day) The ferry trip out proved to be ‘a bit rough,’ Johanna and I were glad to disembark, my mother was sad that the fun rocking and rolling was over and doubly sad when the trip home proved a whole lot smoother.
sugar cane country

an amazing train ride

turtle rehab
Best of all, we were all together and we had a lot of fun; mothers and daughters making memories.