m i a o w


Sure am… Shoreham.

After work on Wednesday I took the train home, watered the garden, looked at the place where the caravan is usually parked, gathered supplies, went and bought some beer and then drove M’s car to Shoreham. He was there with the Smalls. It was our first homeschooling camp.

Organised by the Peninsula WildThings, with whom I try to hang out most Mondays – we knew a few of the families there. I was unfamiliar with the campground – although it’s only about ten minutes past our usual haunt (Point Leo) it is utterly different. There are lots of trees and scrub, which provided us with some much needed shade. The beach itself is not as lovely and the tide was huge each day…

We stayed for three nights – tacking on the third when Small Z pleaded for an extra one. She had so much fun – we didn’t see her for hours at a time – she was off running with a pack of kids playing ‘cops and robbers’ and ‘hide and seek’. Two sisters and their five-year-old cousin practiced their violin at us for two mornings in a row – oh! How I would LOVE to learn the violin. And do you know what? If I’d taken that wish seriously for all the years I’ve had it – I’d be a bloody virtuoso by now. (Back in about 2001 I borrow my friends violin for a YEAR and barely touched it because each time I tried to play, it was so awful that my teeth hurt.)

On this occasion I asked if I could have a go, and was instructed by one of the girls in a way that was so clear and simple, that I could play ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ after about three minutes!! I was, it appears, rather proud of myself. The violin is different to piano and (mostly) guitar – to me it sings a melody. It makes me want to get up and dance, regardless of whether there is singing accompanying it….

Enough of the violin. I digress. The first night there a HUGE thunderstorm hit at about 4am. SO. VERY. LOUD. Poor Small DB bore it very bravely, but after about 20 minutes she said politely, “I’d like to go home now please. Take me home.” She and I stayed awake for the rest of the day…and the day was looooong.

Our stay was somewhat fraught by the fact that I am an anal and vigilant packer of the caravan. This was the first time that M had taken the caravan and the Smalls on his own. His packing practices differ wildly from my own. And this was stressful. Which is where I will leave it – besides offering a pledge to the Interweb…

I will do my very best to furnish the caravan with all that is required for a camping trip so that this situation is never repeated.

Got it? So we had to dash home a few times…also to look after our chickens, who didn’t seem to care. That’s one of the good things about camping 20 minutes from home. Small Z was able to attend her sewing class (which deserves a whole other post) and other kids were able to attend their own odds and sods.

We were at the beach every day. M had hung up one of our rope swings outside the caravan and it became a kid hang-out – the only time there was no kid spinning on that thing was after bedtime. Sand was everywhere, so was dirt – we were all pretty happy.

The funniest thing was…that M and I were BOGANS. Yes. Amongst all our friends were are probably referred to as hippies, even if just for the fact that we strive desperately to avoid full-time work, don’t have a television and are now (kind of officially) homeschooling our kid.

So it was an odd (and kind of delightful) feeling to be amongst people who had never fed their children sugar, were gluten and dairy free (by choice rather than necessity) and did not appear to drink tea or coffee. Nor could I tempt them with my non-organic wine (which would have been more joyful if I had had any ice to cool it down with).

Suddenly, We-The-Hippies had become mainstreaming bogans. I write as if everyone there was like this – I’m sure they weren’t. But the people that we hung out with? Most of them buy five or six things from the supermarket a week – and get the rest of everything via organic food co-ops and growing their own produce.
It was refreshing – and illicitly thrilling, to have the shoe on the other foot. And it made me realising what an ingrained habit offering people a cup of tea has become. M did find someone to share some coffee with

…and the fruit…?

One morning M had dashed home to shave and shower (don’t ask, I didn’t, I just got the Smalls breakfast all sorted on my own while he lathered away in his own sweet time…) and came back soft-of-chin with a big bunch of grapes. In concession to our friends, he even washed them…

I almost choked, as he put them down, still glistening, in a bowl on the picnic rug – where there was much colouring-in and arty stuff going on. He did it with all the kindness in the world, and I could tell he was happy with himself for being so thoughtful…

I could also feel the eyes of the kids on those grapes, and the shocked silent inhalations of their mothers. Bloated, insecticide soaked mainstreaming supermarket grapes. “Three grapes,” I heard someone tell their child, “Just three…”

In the end someone asked M to put them away in the caravan, as it was proving too difficult to keep the kids away from them. I’m sure the Smalls ingested half the bowl. In a perfect (and moneyed) world of course I would buy organic everything – but where we are at right now…we would rather have mainstreaming grapes than none at all…

I am feeling slightly more affinity for the bogans that live nearby in our street. Slightly. I don’t think I’ll graduate to having a recycle bin full of plastic-bagged McDonalds leftovers and a big stupid dog in a too-small backyard, but…yunno…I had a taste of what it might be like…


Time to get milky. Strong and milky.


The Best George Best.

1 Comment

  1. Claire

    How did i miss this entry? Hilarious! How to ruin a camp with supermarket grapes! I take it the other kids were dressed in home woven, home made clothes, too!

Comments are closed.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén