Wednesday, May 21, 2008

First Trip Since the Theft

You know it's cold when you don't have to keep putting the wine back in the fridge, it just sort of lives on the kitchen bench. Last week the VW had it's first major service in 13 months since it was stolen by the naughty boys, and I patted her big behind and said 'Let's Go' (somewhere). To our funky friends in the Hunter Valley, NSW - where they grow baby trees.

This is what happens to you when you own land. You grow trees, you plant trees, you have trees, you start to think like a tree. They planted a whole bunch just so the native animals could get down to the creek without being seen naked, in something called a 'wildlife corridor'. And you can't just dig a hole and shove in a helpless, defenceless baby tree, apparently you need to stir up the soil, dig a deep hole, put in fertiliser, water crystals, carry water from the little creek up the hill, and then pray, and it doesn't end there, you need to fence off the little blighter and give it a pretty pink ribbon to say 'you are special', 'you will one day become a big, beautiful, wanted part of nature, and we will love and nurture you and never chop you down for firewood'. Although this is coming from a man who burnt down his shed.

Nature is crazy beautiful. It's a breathe of fresh air. You fight it until you are drowning and then it's like you can suddenly breathe underwater in a dream, or a kid's movie. This Wedge Tail Eagle got caught by the wrong lens. That's what happens to you when you start to relax, you just can't be arsed getting up.

But in the country there's always something to do, apparently. You can go get firewood, or make pasta from scratch or clean that filthy kitchen window, just so to admire that glorious mountain one more time. Ever 'screw with a view?' You know what I mean.

This is a wombat hole. According to Peter Nicholson - Wombat Schoolboy of the 1960's, the definitive advisor of wombat research: "if you're going down a burrow you want to meet a wombat in the wombat burrow in the end you know, and see what happens. I was 6 foot tall but I was probably only about 9 stone, long and lean. and, you'd get down 6 or 10 feet initially.... but if you were already down 10 feet and you could see another 10 feet and there was something around the corner, it was very tempting to continue excavating. But then I learned that by digging out the floors of the burrows, you still had the structural shape of the hole and it enabled you to get even further down.'

'I was warned that wombats had a habit of squashing dogs while they were down their burrow, and so I was always very cautious that I wouldn't let a wombat get half past me and squash. 
And I also knew that they, that wombats bit. But I was never bitten, in all the time I crawled down burrows, by a wombat, or even outside the burrow.'

And this:

'I was never fearful of going down a burrow. A burrow's a sort of a friendly place. It's someone else's home, maybe, so you're cautious as you enter it. You don't know what you're going to find or whether anybody's home. But it was never a frightening place.'

Thank you ABC Australian Story for that report, just in case you've ever been tempted to travel down a wombat hole. And now in case you've never seen a wombat, here is a dog, Dr Chops to be precise, one who has possibly been down a wombat hole. He's an late rising Schnauzer with pointy ears, 10 years old and has a feisty brother called Bangers. His favourite hobbies are sequesting small titbits from toddlers and snuggling.

Picture of the Kombie.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

'Parks for Pussies'

I like to regularly kidnap MSP & kids in the VW, giving them only 15 minutes notice to gather shoes, hats, drink bottles, nappies and three-horned dinosaurs, then head en familie for a journey into the unknown. On Mother's Day I had supreme power over which direction we went. I was yearning for wide open spaces, Grotto Point Reserve, Balgowlah, just fell into my head - an excellent place for a 'car picnic' should the weather turn.

Me being a 'park right out front' sort of girl, I found us a spot with world class views. We did damage to old-school chicken rolls sitting next to the VW on an upturned crate and a cushion probably issued with the original '71 back seat. Certain members enjoyed the 'standing up lunch' whilst the babe of our clan slept in the back, taking in the fresh air blowing between north and south heads of Sydney Harbour.

On the way there we bypassed various lovingly mowed, 
overcrowded,  sea-level parks which I sneeringly dubbed as 'parks for pussies'. We pushed on to this wilder place where the sea clawed at the cliffs and the vista circled for 270 degrees. A perch from where even the Manly Ferry looked miniature.

It's my job to enlighten our city-living children with the peaceful pleasures of nature, show them the glorious sprays of wildflower decorating the coastal heath. Walk amongst masses of orange Banksia ericifolia and velvety flannel flowers which are incidentally the floral emblem chosen for New South Wales....blah blah blah, all they wanted to do was to feed chips to the magpies!

I  recommend 'Buddhism for Mothers' by Sarah Napthali.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Fast Paced World

Being a parent has its perks, like holding the purse in the toy shop, and writing letters to the teacher why your child was absent, and you don't even need to forge your mum's signature.

This morning we had to get our first late pass organised at the school office. When it came to filling out 'Reason for Lateness?' I wrote:

'Fast paced society'

(as in trouble keeping up with).

After shoving my late daughter into an already filled classroom, I disappeared over the horizon to the seaside with my son who at two, has no concept of time nor lack of it.

His main objective for the morning was to do a poo on the beach. Luckily for me (or unluckily) an elderly couple were cruising by, trying to tear their minds away from the enormous pollywaffle gracing the sands. I embraced the truth and asked for a spare tissue (old ladies are famous for carrying them) - she gave me two. Bless her. I vow to carry a box in my purse from now on. 

We marvelled at the beautiful, empty(ish) Sydney harbour beaches in the Autumn. 

At 3.20pm when school was due to finish I bought up the 'Slow Movement' with another waiting school mum (not to be confused with the earlier one).

She seemed nice, normal, maybe even more feral than most, and even admitted to only putting her sons through swimming and some other extraneous hobbie slash improving activity (I started to drift off). I noted her eyebrows rising when I mentioned the Slow Movement. It obviously rung some far off bell for her. Why do parents insist on swimming lessons in the Autumn? For god's sake - it's fucking cold. My child enjoyed cavorting with his pants off, but when I washed his dirty bum in harbour water, I tell you, he wasn't happy.

I used to be the A student, the overachiever, and look where it got me.

Today's excitement came in the form of a 244GL Volvo, powder blue, driven by the octengenarian owner of KHE XXX (best he remain nameless - you know who you are), we were both doing 10 kph over the speed limit, and STILL, we had people on our arses. Is it the coffee they grow these days or what?????

Folk don't believe me when I say I don't suffer road rage, I love tormenting other drivers. Especially tailgaters. But like old ladies hogging isle four of Coles supermarket, you can't just shove us into the honey section, you've got to wait till we decide to actually move. That's what it's like with the Kombi. Heh heh.

So me and the Blue Volvo are growling along River Road, we are holding up all the traffic in the race of the turtles. I'm not sure who won. Me probably. We took turns. Winning is for losers. We both won. We both got to drive slowly, at 10 am, the road ours. If you are late or early for the peak hour, that is your fault not ours. Hmmmm, maybe I'm passive aggressive road rage.