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A much needed weekend away

A weekend away couldn’t have come at a better time. The heat here has really been getting to me. It’s constantly over 35 degrees and extremely high humidity. It’s only the start of Summer, I don’t know how I’m going to cope for the next few months. I usually love Summer but have always lived near the ocean where the extreme hot days don’t usually last more than a couple of days and we can usually cool off at the beach in the evenings. The weather here is so different, it just doesn’t seem to let up. Even with the evening thunderstorms, the temperature is still stifling.

So a weekend in Byron Bay was a perfect time to recharge our batteries and get back to the ocean we love. We stayed in a caravan park just out of town that had a great water park with slides and swimming pools. We were only a short drive to the surfing beaches and the shops. We spent Sunday morning surfing and playing at the beach. The cool ocean breeze was perfect and I felt immediately calm and relaxed.

Byron Bay is a lovely colourful town with so many beautiful murals and artworks. It’s very busy with lots of tourists and locals and always a good place to sit and people watch. On Monday morning we drove out to The Farm and had a wander around the fields and checked out the animals. We stopped in for some coffee and amazing pastries.

On our travels we came across some very artistic Christmas trees, one that was made from recycled bicycles and the other decorated with red surfboards. I’m always really impressed by unusual artworks.

Before heading back home, we drove up to Brisbane to collect our new pup Minnie. She was awesome in the car driving three and half hours back home. She’s a beautiful little pup and seems happy in her new home though it will take her a little while to settle in I think. She’s been barking a lot at the other dogs around town and I’m not too happy with how much she’s barking. I really hope that it’s just her getting used to her surroundings and it won’t be a permanent thing.

Fingers crossed she settles into a lovely dog that doesn’t bark quite so much and gets along with other dogs. I think it’s going to be a very long work in progress.

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Here’s to new friends

What a crazy busy week it’s been for me. The girls and I drove up to Brisbane on Saturday afternoon to meet the Kelpie pup we’d seen on a pet rescue site. It was a long drive but so worth it. We fell in love with little Minnie the 6 month old Kelpie X. She’s not had a great start to life and really needs a family that will love her and devote some time to keeping her active and continue with her training. We think we are the perfect fit for each other so we’ve agreed to adopt her. We are driving back up on Monday to bring her home with us. We’re all very excited and hope that she loves us as much as we love her.

I’ve told Linden he’ll need to put a fence around his vege patch or she will destroy it but he thinks she’ll soon learn (I think I’m right but I’m not going to argue with him). The vege and herb garden is growing beautifully. We’ve been able to pick a few zucchinis growing and the basil is thick and healthy. It’s fantastic to be able to use fresh garden produce in our pasta. Alice has taken to watering the plants every morning for some pocket money.

The weather has been really hot and as we are only on tank water here, we’d love to get a bit of rain to help fill the tanks. Some afternoon/evenings we get a big storm with lots of thunder and lightning but it rarely rains more than a few minutes. The river behind our house is really low at the moment too which makes it a bit scummy and not great to swim in. Fingers crossed we get some good rain soon.

Arriving here I didn’t think I would be able to find work but I’ve been pleasantly surprised this week. I was offered a couple of days’ casual work as an SLSO (School Learning Support Officer) in the high school where the girls go to school. I’ve only just started my course so really don’t know what I’m doing yet, but this is exactly the type of work I’ve been wanting to do. The high school children aren’t what I’m used to, having only volunteered in primary school before but I’m keen to learn and hope they accept me soon. I love feeling like I’ve made a difference in someone’s life and helped them learn. I really feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. Casual work with school hours and at a school my own girls go to so I don’t have to worry about before and after school care is absolutely perfect.

Oh and I’ve made a lovely friend!! She unfortunately lives 50 minutes away so I only get to see her every couple of weeks but we sit and chat for a couple of hours over coffee and she is such a positive influence on me. We are in the same situation, moving to a town for our husband’s work and not knowing anyone. Our husbands work together so we have lots to talk about and stories in common. She is a breath of fresh air and I can talk so freely and easily with her. It’s been difficult for me to sit and chat to people previously, I’ve always felt like a bit awkward, like I didn’t belong or had nothing important to say. I’m surprised at how easily I find talking to her and look forward to our coffee dates.

My next post will be all about our Byron Bay weekend and our new family member.

Until then x

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Our First Visitors

We’ve only been here one month and have already had our first visitors stay for the weekend. My Sister and Brother in Law arrived on Friday afternoon and stayed until Monday and we had such a lovely weekend together. We showed them around town, our swimming spots on the river and took them out for lunch in Lismore on Saturday afternoon. On Sunday we did a tourist drive through some really pretty areas, visiting Tooloom Falls and Bean Creek Falls, through Yabbra State Forest and ending up at Bonalbo to take the girls to a birthday party at the pool for one of their school friends. Unfortunately, we haven’t had much rain here lately so the Falls weren’t as spectacular as when they have a lot of water in them. Bean Creek Falls actually had no water running but the drop off and pool at the bottom are pretty impressive. We even saw turtles swimming in the pool and heard what we thought were dingoes howling in the distance. The photos I took are of Tooloom Falls and the girls had a quick swim in the bottom pool. It was a great weekend with some late nights chatting and catching up (well anything after 9pm is late for me!).

I think I’m really settling in to the quiet life. Our house is massive! We have 12 foot ceilings and the bedroom sizes would probably be around the same size as our old loungeroom. I honestly don’t know how we are going to go back to a smaller house. We’ll feel so cramped in comparison. I’ve started to get into a slight routine each week. Wednesdays are generally my home day where I clean the house, edit photos, write and sometimes bake. I enjoy just pottering around listening to the birds.

We think we may have found a rescue dog that will be a perfect fit for us. The girls and I are going to meet her on Saturday to see if she likes us and if we like her. She’s a 6 month old brown and tan kelpie cross and from the photos we’ve seen of her, we think she’s beautiful. If all goes well, we will be able to adopt her and bring her home with us in a couple of weeks time.

The blueberry season is coming to an end so we’ve been stocking up on the cheap blueberries for the freezer so I can keep baking yummy treats. I joined the local CWA Branch last week and will go along to their monthly meetings. They seem like a nice group of ladies and I’ve offered to start up a Facebook page for them to promote our Branch and the CWA. In May, we have a blueberry day so I’m researching some treats to make for the stall. I’m thinking my Monte Carlo biscuits would be delicious with a blueberry cream filling instead of the raspberry one I usually do. Possibly also adding blueberries to my banana bread recipe. I’ll have to test it first. If you have any suggestions for great blueberry recipes, please send them my way!

I hope you’ve been enjoying our updates. Until next time x

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November 23, 2016 - 10:43 am

Janelle - Loving your blog, Kathryn. Takes me back to my daughter’s early years in Mudgee – exploring the countryside. Thanks so much for sharing. Great photos xx

November 23, 2016 - 10:45 am

admin - Hi Janelle! Thanks for taking the time to read it. I’m glad you are enjoying it. Makes it more enjoyable for me to write and share out experiences when people enjoy it 🙂

November 23, 2016 - 10:58 am

Carl - Loved the time spent, will definitely be back up your way, not until after February I figure. Your blog is so entertaining, and photos are great (as always), although surprised by the ‘sneaky’ one you got of me at Paddys Gully crossing

November 23, 2016 - 11:46 am

admin - After February is totally fine. Mum will be here in December and we’ll be back on the Coast in January anyway 🙂
It was great having you here, hope it was okay to post that photo – I thought it was a good one.

A little lonely

It’s been a weird week here for me. I’ve struggled a little in that I’ve been feeling a little lonely. It’s hard to explain as I’m not unhappy here, I’m enjoying the quiet though some days it might just be a bit too quiet. I have yet to make any friendships, it’s difficult in such a small town where there doesn’t seem to be any women my age that have similar interests.

I am grateful this week that I have started my online course and have filled up a couple of days with study. I help out in the girls classroom a couple of mornings a week and that’s been great too. On Monday I have a meeting to discuss the possibility of me being able to do my voluntary hours for the course at the girls’ school. The teachers I’ve spoken with are really keen for me to get started and there’s been talk of some possible casual work in the future which would be fantastic.

Linden’s been working a lot of nights and weekends this week and I always enjoy hearing the stories of the people he’s met and how diverse his work is here. He seems to be really enjoying the change. He’s even talking about buying a couple of cows!! He sure is embracing this country life. His vege patch is coming along and some of the plants seem to be thriving. He’s got lots of plans for the rest of the garden and I’m sure it’s going to look beautiful in a few months time.

The girls are adjusting beautifully and have made some lovely little friends at school. There has been the odd tear or two when they miss their friends back home, but mostly they are happy here. They’ve started going to swim club on a Thursday afternoon at the pool near their school (about 20 minutes drive away). It’s a great afternoon and not at all competitive which suits us just fine. They are only trying to improve their times each week and don’t worry about what anyone else is doing. There are lots of different swimming abilities and it’s so good to see them all just having a go and having fun with their friends. In between swims there is always a game of handball going on. They are loving learning to play handball and have now got all four of us out in the backyard of an afternoon playing.

I took the girls to The Channon Craft Market on Sunday which was a lot of fun. Lucy got herself a henna tattoo and they both picked up a colourful tie dyed shirt (Alice even getting to make her own under the guidance of the beautiful stallholder). We bought a few little Christmas gifts but the best part was the people watching. So many colourful characters to observe.

We’re getting our first visitors this weekend and I’ve been busy stocking the fridge and pantry and cleaning the house this week. My sister and her husband are visiting for 4 days and we can’t wait! I just hope they don’t get too bored.

Until next time x

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November 18, 2016 - 8:39 am

Siobhan - Nice to see you all settling it. Such a huge adjustment for all of you! Hopefully, you’ll find a nice little group of ladies, who can fill those friendship gaps! It’s a time you will all no doubt treasure!

November 21, 2016 - 1:21 am

Andrew - Nice close-up shots, Lucy in the window, sunset (?), and the pay-off on the trampoline for all those hours of gymnastics. Henna is certainly fascinating and tye dying seems eternally coming back. Eliza mentioned to me last week she missed Alice and wondered how she was doing. Perhaps Alice could write to her class, so the teacher, Ms Clark, could read it out, and invite people to write back as a class or as individuals as a writing project. The girls might get a few drawings even! It might take some time to build some friendships, local radio and CDs were my salvation when in quiet places. Now when Ive got a break from passing vehicles, boat motors, dogs barking, and motorbikes being revved, I deeply spend time listening to quiet sounds like leaves in the wind or hundreds of bees in a tree we recently saved. Getting into the community via school and study are effective, or you could join a committee of some kind. I think you had a nice time with your sister. Ive got a friend doing a retreat at the place you were working, Im seeing him next weekend there and before he comes here we’ll get to look around at the cockle shell construction in the old convent. Gwen Dundon wrote that the boys who lived there is the early 1800s calcified piles of cockle shells by the water to make mortar for the building, and celebrities came from Sydney to Woy Woy then by boat to Kincumber to open it when it was finished. Anyway, I thought of you working there when taking to my friend today about next weekend and his retreat this week. Im thinking of paddling there in the kayak across Brisbane Broadwater, then Christie can meet us there in the Tarago and we’d all drive back together. Anyway, let the peace take hold, dont resist it, listen for the sounds of the place, and keep a creative mind in writing and with that camera. Im sure you’ll be fine. Cheers A

November 21, 2016 - 3:31 pm

admin - Oh thanks so much Andrew, that’s lovely to read today. How interesting about the Retreat. I worked there for 18 months and had no idea about the cockle shell construction. Fascinating. I hope he’s enjoyed his time there. It really is a peaceful place. The grounds are lovely and quiet and from what I hear from attendees they always seem to enjoy it there. Hopefully the staff have looked after him.

I did write to Ms Clark when we first arrived and sent through some photos and a story of how Alice was going but I didn’t hear back from her so I’m not sure if she received my email and/or shared it with the class. I hope she did. I can send another one to her and see if she gets it.

I really do enjoy the peace and quiet here. There are lots of different bird species to enjoy. The little blue wrens are beautiful.

November 21, 2016 - 3:33 pm

admin - Thanks for taking the time to read my post Siobhan! We will definitely look back on our adventure with fond memories. It’s really a great place for the girls to spend a few years in. I’m starting to really enjoy it here.

It’s all about the River

This week has been all about the river, trying to find some great spots for swimming or to take the canoe at a later date. Directly behind our house is a dirt road through cow paddocks to the river. There’s a lot of shade and a small swimming hole with little rapids for the girls to play on their inflatable rings. The days have been really warm so it’s perfect to head down there after school or late afternoon on the weekends. Who needs a pool when you have the river at your doorstep!

Last Saturday was the Tabulam Races. It’s a once a year event and brings in hundreds of campers and bus loads of people from far and wide to experience the country race day. The girls and I got frocked up and headed down in the afternoon but it was so hot, we only stayed an hour to watch one race and then headed back home. I’ll know for next year not to get quite so dressed up. I haven’t been to a country race before and while some ‘fashions on the field’ entrants got all dressed up with pretty dresses and fascinators, the majority of the crowd were in summer attire. A lot of the crowd were from the hundreds of backpackers living in Tabulam for the blueberry picking season. Everyone seemed to be having fun and there were lots of free kids activities which was great. However, being there without friends and not being a drinker or gambler, I was happy to leave early and head to the river for a swim.

We did find a fantastic swimming hole down by the racecourse though so that was well worth it. There’s a huge area to swim, with a sandy shore and we can’t touch the bottom so the girls had a ball. Just a short walk downriver is a beautiful rapids area with big rocks to climb over. It’s definitely a spot we might come back to with the canoe and even camp overnight.

We’ve been looking every day on the various pet rescue sites looking for a perfect addition to our family but as yet haven’t found what we are looking for. We’ve enquired about a few but they’ve already had adoption applications by the time we send through our interest. I’m sure the perfect dog will come along soon.

I’ve tried to get out riding but the roads aren’t in great condition and they are very windy and narrow. It’s a bit scary when a car or truck speeds past and the cattle grids get a bit annoying after the 20th one! After dropping the girls at the bus stop this morning we headed out to the road out towards Richmond Range National Park. It was a 6km dirt road along a ridge overlooking some very pretty countryside that had some hills. It wasn’t too hard for me and my poor mountain biking skills but still tough enough to get a good workout.

I hope you are enjoying our updates and photos. Until next time. xx

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November 8, 2016 - 1:39 pm

Ciaran - Nothing like swimming in a river floating downstream 🙂

November 8, 2016 - 2:09 pm

admin - There are a few grazes and bruises from the rocks but they are so happy there. Not quite the ocean but the next best thing.

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