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Tag: camping (Page 1 of 4)

Maldon Folk Festival 2009

Our trip to Maldon was great. The weather was HOT! It was a shock, as there was no gradual ascent to the heat, it just jumped from weeks of average-ish spring temperatures with lots of rain, to three days of about 30 degrees.


We and our lovely camping companions had a good time, although we didn’t get to see as much music as I had hoped. I felt evilly thwarted when we made the effort to get to the Anglican Church on Sunday morning (I should have realised, right?) in response to an advertisement at a few places of acapella. So we showed up. And it was hymns. One at a time. Punctuated by god-speak. A less stupid person would have been unsurprised (that was E and M). M and I left, taking Small Z, who kept being ‘shooshed’ by devout looking people as she kept shouting ‘Mooosic? Where moosic?! DANCE! DANCE!!’

We tried again later in the day. Same venue. This time accompanied by Mr H & Son. It had been advertised as a gospel concert. WRONG! We tried to join in, but Mr H was rendered insensible by myself on one side hissing “Are we supposed to be singing ‘Bringing in the sheep’? or ‘Bringing in the cheese?'” and Jack (aged 8) on the other, asking, “Are we supposed to be singing ‘Bringing in the sheets?'” When he could speak, he told us heathens that it was ‘Bringing in the sheaves’ – a hymn that Wikipedia now informs me ‘is a popular hymn used almost exclusively by Protestant Christians’ – inspired by Psalm 126.6 – we left shortly afterward.

But aside from the above two paragraphs, the music we glimpsed was excellent, and it was great just to hang out with some other people and their small person for three days. It was good to just be AWAY. We got to tour the home of their friends who live locally and marvel at their chickens, their garden and their lifestyle in general. We attended several cafes and enjoyed kicking back in the late Sunday afternoon shade at the main stage. Beer was drunk, toddler tantrums were refereed and there was bushdancing (where there was also some impromptu napping)…

Conked out...

Each time we’ve been to Maldon M and I have delayed our return home by at least a day. This time we did it with E, D and Small E. We aimed for Malmsbury, but there was nowhere to camp – though we all could have camped in the bakery for a considerable time – the pies and custard tarts were delectable! On the advice of the girl who worked in the bakery we headed for Kyneton, where the caravan park adjoins both the botanical gardens and the river. Divine.

In Kyneton on the air mattress

It balmed my soul to spend a night surrounded by greenery instead of dusty hot bushland (sorry Maldon). We drank gin and tonics into the night, and probably for this reason, E and I had good sleeps. If I had known what I was going to have for breakfast I wouldn’t have been able to sleep at all – I would have lain there wide eyed in anticipation.

On a slight tangent, I had read in Epicure a few weeks ago about the foodies street in Kyenton – Piper Street. So, on the morning of Melbourne Cup Day, that’s where we headed, fingers crossed that somewhere would be open. Ladel was open, but they don’t do breakfast. Very kindly, they pointed us in the direction of Slow Living.

Oh. My. God. Let it be known that this is the site of the best breakfast I have EVER had. (Are you paying attention, foody cousin?) It was nothing grand. It was entirely organic. It was two poached eggs, happy bacon, chunky heavy rye, two tomatoes, some spinach. Am kicking myself for not taking photograph of it. It was expensive, as cafe breakfasts go, and it was worth every single cent.

Parallel play on the plaid...

Birthday Jubilee

This year for my birthday my desire was to head for Daylesford. Haven’t been there for an age. Probably not since 2006. Odd. In that time the price of renting a house for a weekend appears to have increased significantly (as have the cafes). Which was fine with me – we would use my small caravan.

A few of the usual suspects were rounded up and braved the very cold night/s in tents with varying degrees of success. We were at Jubilee Lake Caravan Park, somewhere I had picked online for its seemingly picturesque qualities. I wasn’t disappointed. It was gorgeous. There were ducks, peacocks and waterhens. And Mr H even went angling in the lake and alleged he had caught a redfin that he’d had to return due to its smallness.

Peacock at Jubilee Lake
Duck on Jubilee Lake
Caravan across the park

My other Daylesford aim was to attend the farmers market on the Saturday and the normal market at the station on Sunday – my actual birthday day. Woo hoo! Two markets, two days – and I got to do them both because it was ALL ABOUT ME!! Yah! Saturday morning D&E and Small E hit the Farmer’s Market with us, leaving Mr&MrsH and Jack to finish frightening the fish. We assumed we would catch up with them in town, not realising that Vodaphone, in their wisdom, decided to exclude Daylesford from their coverage and render them uncontactable.

Ring a Rosy at Daylesford Farmer's Market

The Farmer’s Market was satisfying. And the food at the Breakfast & Beer Cafe was excellent, albeit wildly overpriced. When it says ‘cured salmon, hash brown, Holy goat curd, rocket, Wallaby creek lemon oil‘? and you think they have left the ‘s’ off ‘hash brown’? They haven’t. It’s one hash brown. Surrounded beautifully by the other small decorative items. Just so you know.

M had dashed up the street for funds and took rather a long time. After eating we decided to head back to camp to see if Small E or Small Z would deign to sleep. Yeah. We actually tried. And from that time onward, Small Z began to resemble a tiny grenade rather than a tiny person – liable to go off and decimate her surrounding area at any moment. Ack.

We did some roaming around the playground and lake and were happy to see Mung, Rach and the boys arrive. Woo! Each time I see Rach her hair is a different shade and she has different roller-derby stories to tell. We spent inordinate amounts of time trying to come up with excellent roller-derby names like Violent Crumble, Hurtle Myrtle, ummmm – oh, my one is Princess Die…. More fun than thinking of baby names!!

Kicking back camping

We lit the fire early, thank goodness, because as soon as the sun eased down you could feel the air snap. Lovely M, before the little ones had gone to bed, busted out a divine birthday cake and candles and we all sang Happy Birthday. That’s where he had nicked off to while we were at the cafe. And I’m not kidding about the cake. It was awesome. MrsH surpassed herself and somehow managed to cook bangers, mash and greens for everyone that was assembled?!? And maintained her composure throughout?! I was awed by this, as I personally couldn’t imagine anything more stress inducing.

Dinner was finished off with several people on toasted marshmallow highs. Jackson. The fire was warm, the company was crackling and the night was clear. Lovely. At around 2am our slumbers were besmirched by Small Z screeeeaming that she wanted, NEEDED a bottle of milk. Right NOW. At home we might not have been so responsive, but with other people nearby in tents? M and I ran around the campsite in various states of undress looking for the bloody bottle. We found it, and peace reigned.

Sunday morning. Happy Birthday ME! Small Z and I defrosted ourselves under the shower, trying to keep the water restrictions in mind. Back at the camp MrH busted out the champagne and orange and I figured that the unborn could tolerate some celebratory breakfast juice. Small Z cranked out the first of many meltdowns and we all buzzed about tidying up prior to marketing. I drank tea.

Kicking back camping

I received some lovely presents – some Grown Vanilla & Orange Peel Hand Cream from M, who knows I covet it and would never buy it for myself…

Also Truth by Peter Temple, Piano Lessons by Anna Goldsworthy, When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris, and the Lisa Miller cd Morning in the Bowl of the Night from my Dad and Mgs. I gave my dad the Peter Temple book for his birthday a few months back, but required my own copy due to its excellence.

Mum and T both donated to my beautiful BOOTS (instantaneously relieving my credit card woe)!! and also gifted me a spa voucher for a facial and pedicure or massage….divine. A gorgeous little tea set compiled by MrsH with the tiny teapot having its own warmer, a little glass milk jug with ‘tea’ written on it and a handpainted cup (yes, she got to trawl the fun places in Daylesford, just like I will do when MY offspring are aged eight…) and I received an excellent tea towel for the caravan from Rach – the words ‘tea towel’ don’t really do it justice, because it is super-cool.

Off to the market. Yes. Well. I got to see half of it, marking off in my head the things I wanted to go back and explore, before Small Z had to be forcibly removed from the honey stall after tasting more honey than was polite. Rolling on the pavement then ensued while I folded my arms and waited it out. Passersby shook their heads in sympathy…whether for me or her, I wasn’t sure. Someone said, “She even looks cute while she’s screaming!” in tones of admiration. Cliffys for restorative hot drinks – it is such a lovely place to sit, especially on a cold morning.

Another tantrum punctuated our walk back to the car. We then met the others (minus Mr&Mrs H and Jack) at the wondrous Chowder Cafe. As soon as I’d arrived at the caravan park and had seen a brochure about this place it had been my birthday lunch destination of choice. Chowder. How do I love thee? Let me count the ways…
I am not going to keep going on about the tantruming. Finally peace reigned and I was able to each the chowder I craved. It left me wordlessly happy. Mmmmmmm. (See?)

Chowder House - Hepburn Springs

After we had all imbibed, the guy at the cafe started asking everyone in the place questions from the Sunday Age quiz. We contributed admirably – there was one question written precisely for me: What was the name of the person who created the character of Simon Templar? Hello? Which Saint books DON’T I own?! Excellent.

We headed over the road to a shop that appeared to sell mostly hats. DJ got a grey one, while Small Z and Small E tried some on before heading out the front into the garden and autumn leaves…

Autumn leaves. Hepburn Springs
Autumn leaves. Hepburn Springs

The drive home seemed to take DOUBLE the amount of time than it had to get there. Small Z stayed awake the whole way, and due to fatigue, M and I had to stop at her first ever Golden Arches to get him a coffee and myself a double tea-bagged tea. She was SO thrilled by the play equipment – the tunnels and most of all the HELICOPTER that she now keeps an eagle eye out of the window for other similar ones… which I suppose is indicative of successful marketing.
Update: Small Z has emerged from tantrum phase (I hesitated to type that) and we are much comforted. For now.

Small DB’s first camping trip

Nothing drastic. A night in the caravan at Point Leo. Accompanied by D, E, Small E and Small O. So we had another baby there to keep people awake if need be. We were joined just for the afternoon by Mr and Master H, the latter of whom has a subzero body temperature and would probably bathe at the South Pole if allowed.

As a baby camping experiment, it went well. Both Small DB and Small Z slept better than they do at home, despite an enthusiastic thunderstorm with all the trimmings. However, Small Z is having difficulty sharing her space – this is probably somewhat related to her space being invaded by the arrival of Small DB. The sharing issues seem to only be with kids her age. Master H, aged nine, is no problem and nor is the six year old next door. But small two and three year old people? It’s meltdown city. Sigh.

It’s hard to know whether to just ignore her upsetness and tell the other kids not to worry, or to just avoid the situations altogether until this phase passes. Was she going to let Small E into ‘her’ caravan without a fight? No way. So we had some interesting moments… But some lovely ones as well. M started putting Small DB in the sling this weekend, which was lovely (for me…and them!) and we went for a family frolic along the beach creek and fossicked for washed up treasures…

The good thing about Point Leo is that it’s only ten or 15 minutes away, so if it all goes to hell, we can just come home. (This has happened, but only once.) Anyway, we are now more confident taking Small DB out overnight – particularly while she still fits in the wonderful Emmaljunga bassinette, which we take off the pram chassis and just put on the caravan floor. Perfect.

E and I got some baby-free time, and even some baby-free AND toddler-free time, which was very highly valued.

Blokes with their babies
Dec 10 059

Oh. And I got to get out some of Small DB’s warmer clothes – ones that I thought she would never wear, it beeing SUMMER and all.

Colder than usual

Point Leo in Caravan

I was lucky enough to have M sort out the caravan for me – hooking it on to the car, getting out on to the street, adjusting the towing mirrors and topping up the water tank.

He left for the Very Large Catamaran and I finished sorting out what to take – relishing the minor packing involved for a one night getaway. Small Z was very excited and helped pack the caravan.

We took off. It always gives me a little buzz to be towing the little home away from home behind me. We stopped in Balnarring for supplies and hit Point Leo at about 10.30am.

Our favourite spot was free. I was SO thrilled to see a real Airstream caravan nearby – I plan to go and have a closer, more Labrador-like look at it.

I entertained the other campers for ten minutes or so, reverse parking the van, and then positioning it with my puny arms. The Smalls were stunningly well behaved durin this time. I put up the little shade tent for them and then we ate a civilised lunch at the caravan table – Small Z chomped her way through THREE dinner rolls, and Small DB ate her first proper sandwich.

L&D and Small C and the TWINS(!) arrived later on in their new Defender and their little caravan with the ratchet jockey wheel (that didn’t actually help a great deal on the grass). I forgot they have an annexe, and may position my caravan a little further away with the help of M, when he shows up in the morning (although this may not occur as he may die from happiness at having a whole night to himself on the Very Expensive visco-elastic mattress), spread like a starfish.

I took Small Z and C to the creek, where they splashed and jumped and had a ball. After Small DB’s nap L and I took all Smalls on a walk (to get the TWINS! to sleep) to the playground followed by the cafe. Where Small Z’s day was made by a chocolate milkshake.

I made the Smalls a cooking-free early dinner of rice paper rolls with tuna, brown rice and avocado and then took them to the beach. I made Small Z run and run and run, and Small DB stagger and totter and falter – all in the name of utterly exhausting them. They both went to sleep like lambs!

I am posting with my phone and will try to include photos from today. I don’t think I get any choice about the order of them, but hopefully it won’t matter. It’s time for me to have a snack and collapse. A lovely day!

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