We headed awy for the weekend. Naturally, it took longer than we thought to leave. M had to change a tyre on the car, I had to dither around packing Z-snacks, clothes and bedding, dreaming of the day I have the caravan set up with everything we need to take off at a moments notice.
About 20 minutes before we left I noticed yet another stupidly large four wheel drive idling out the front of our house. Five minutes later the phone rang:
“Hello Peter the real estate agent,” I said. “Does that guy out the front want to come through the house?”
“Hello and yes,” he said.
I explained that this would be impossible because we were disappering for the weekend, so we agreed to sort it out on Monday.
We left with that slightly bubbly feeling that going away for a few nights in the caravan bestows. Small Z was running a slight fever, but remained chirpy. We assumed teething.
The fever got worse as the night went on. It was impossible to get her to sleep, so after some marvellous grazing and excellent soup (Small Z would eat nothing) I went to bed in the caravan with her and a hot water bottle. I could have used her for the purpose, but assumed she wouldn’t want my feet resting on her.
I laid there reading the New York Times on my iPhone and chanced upon an article describing the optimal conditions for sleep. I lay there in about three degrees reading that cool temperatures are best (but around 17 degrees). Check. And cold toes are not conducive to sleep, so it’s best to use a hot water bottle. Check. This tied into an article that has remained stuck in my mind for ages, about the causes of eczema and dermatitis – a conversation with Dr Hugh Malloy…
Anyway, I have digressed. Small Z eventually went to sleep, and I watched the second last episode of the second series of Flight of the Conchords. Our night wasn’t great, but better than I thought it was going to be. I REALLY have to make some curtains for the caravan, because we woke up when it got light – may as well have been lying with our faces to the sky.
It was a gorgeous day, and Dad and Mgs made use fried mushrooms and tomato, and strong tea and fresh orange juice. Zing! We potter around a while before hitching up the caravan…
The drive to Binginwarri was uneventful. Small Z’s head continued to feel like a BBQ, but she was quite amenable in the car. It had been a year since we last went to visit the Uncle and Auntie (henceforth known as R and K) and in that year, their grand-niece (ha!) was a totally different kettle of fish. It is such a lovely property, and like Loch, soothes the soul just to look at it. K is a twitcher from way back, and there were lots of birds around, right near the house – rosellas, finches of various plumages, magpies, robins, willy wagtails, um…you get the idea.
It was a shame that Small Z wasn’t well – and it was hard, because she was both her chirpy self, but also super clingy and wanting to be carried everywhere. I felt compelled to explain a few times that she was out of sorts…and make excuses. Of course, I had to disappear and nap with her, and then miss dessert that night for the same reason – it was all a bit of bad timing! We will return with health intact!!
However, there was lots of lovely fooding and chatting. I got educated on the family tree by K – who has been diligently chasing down people for that purpose, and drank some lovely Marlborough white wine. I again admired the wood stove that is used throughout winter for cooking and warmth. We walked through the state forest on the other side of the track, and Small Z and I played ‘aeroplane sticks’ – zooming around holding sticks like ‘wings’. I showed her some cows at close range, but they did not pique her interest.
On Saturday night in the caravan, Small Z vomited lavishly over herself, me and the bed at around 2am *shudder* and M had to be man of the moment and find towels, spare sheets, etc. etc. Hideous. It all happened again at about 7.30am, by which time Small Z and I were so exhausted that we passed out until around 10am, and I missed yet another meal. Once we got up K let me pick from an array of jams and preserves for my toast, and after two cups of tea I began feeling human. Then I ate the sticky date pudding I’d missed the night before, and felt even better.
We watched Mgs do a sterling job of backing the trailer full of wood down the driveway – this reminded me that I really have to do some practice!! The wood had been chainsawed by Dad the previous day, and he had buggered his back while doing it, and thus was unable to look over his shoulder to back the trailer himself.
All those seedlings in the background are just a small pocket of all the ones that K is propagating around the property. Small Z and I had a tour of R’s vegetable garden. I forget the name of the beds, but they are circular – about the circumference of a truck tyre – made with chicken wire, lined with black plastic, and filled with hay, compost and manure. Lastly, there is a plastic pipe shoved down the side, and this is how you administer water.
It was very inspiring, and if I hadn’t had a wriggly toddler to contend with, I would have remembered to take a photo. Anyway, R very obligingly donated me some planting information and some of his own seedsI
We drove home, stopping for sandwiches in Meeniyan at the bookshop/cafe. Good on ambience, not great imagination put into their toasted sandwiches. I was completely exhausted, and M got to drive all the way home with a zombie and a fevered toddler. Getting home was a relief (an understatement). The day was finished by lots of washing – to de-vomit the caravan interior.