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Everyone loves a Waterfall

School holidays are almost at an end and seem to have gone way too quickly as usual. The end of school term was another busy one and I ended up with a few little health issues that concerned me. High blood pressure, chest pain, headaches, earache and just generally feeling unwell for a few weeks so I decided to take myself to a Doctor to be checked out. I was a bit worried when the Doctor told me she wanted to monitor my blood pressure for a week and then possibly refer me to a cardiologist.

We had a couple of days break in the first week of the holidays, travelling to Dorrigo and Bellingen and visiting lots of beautiful waterfalls and a bushwalk through the Rainforest Centre at Dorrigo. We stayed the night in Bellingen at the quaint Federal Hotel and ate dinner at a delicious Middle Eastern restaurant called Za’atar. The girls were a bit disappointed we weren’t going to the pub for Chicken Schnitzel and chips but we convinced them to try the tasting plate and I think they were surprised how much they enjoyed the food.

It really is a beautiful part of NSW. There are lots of lovely shops to explore and the waterfalls and walks are lovely.

After exploring the area, we drove to Taree and spent 2 nights with Linden’s Aunt. I read books, the girls swam in the pool and helped Linden work in the garden. It was just what I needed to relax and get my blood pressure back down to a healthy range.

I have been back to the Doctor and thankfully my levels seem to be going okay at the moment – two weeks off work, school and kids activities have probably helped. It seems I get myself worked up and stressed and need to learn ways to relax which is easier said than done. She mentioned finding time to do things I love and I really struggled to remember what I used to love to do. It’s so difficult to find any ‘me time’ and there are really not many options here. I find I’m always so busy with working and driving the girls here and there that I have really lost myself these past few years. I think my mental health has taken a battering as well as my physical health.

I’m hoping I can turn a corner and start to feel better soon.

Birthday Surprises and Waterfalls

Things have settled down since the fire in February and we’ve been so grateful for a little bit of rain to help things green up around the area. It’s lovely to see the paddocks back to a healthy colour and a bit of water running in the river again.

The girls have had a great few weeks at school with assignments, homework and the Cross Country last week. They will both represent the school at Zone next term and are looking forward to it. We’ll have to do a bit more practice over the holidays to keep their fitness up.

My mum turned 80 last month and she had a couple of weeks of lovely surprises. My dear cousin Claire surprised Mum with a visit, travelling all the way from London without Mum having any idea. From what I hear, there were tears and swear words but they had such a lovely time together. I decided to surprise Mum as well with a quick weekend trip. The girls and I flew down to Sydney and we had so much fun catching up with family. We had lots of café stops and shopping. We even managed to get Claire into the ocean one afternoon. I haven’t laughed so much in a long time and I think we all needed the break. I just wish she didn’t live so far away. The last time I saw Claire was when she was my bridesmaid almost 14 years ago.

Yesterday, we decided to have a device free day and headed to Minyon Falls to bushwalk to the base of the falls. We haven’t been before but it’s been on our ‘to do’ list for a long time. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much water at the Falls but it was lovely to spend some family time doing something we haven’t done in a very long time. The walk was very scenic but got difficult at the end where there was no track and we had to scramble across big rocks to get to the base of the Falls. The water was too cold to swim, even for our little mermaids but they enjoyed the day. My poor old body is feeling it today though. The most physical activity I have done in months.

School holidays are coming up soon and we are planning a short trip to Dorrigo, Bellingen and then onto Taree for a couple of nights. We hope to do some bushwalking around Dorrigo and along the Waterfall Way and just generally explore the area. We’re also looking forward to seeing Mum again in the 2nd week of the holidays.

Bushfire, Devastation and Loss

As you have probably seen on the News, our town of Tabulam has been affected by an out of control bushfire this week.

Here’s a little insight as to what has been happening this past week. Some photos are Linden’s that he took while he was at work.

I was at work on Tuesday and we were advised a fire had broken out around 10km west of Tabulam on the Bruxner Highway. The Highway had been closed and we had to make alternate arrangements for some of our students to get home. We had very little information about the fire or how bad it was. By the time I left work, it had travelled very quickly towards Tabulam, through the Aboriginal community of Jubbulum which had to be evacuated. The fire kept going down Chauvel Road towards the river, where houses, sheds and equipment were lost. It jumped the river at the Racecourse (2km from our home) and the town had been evacuated.

Linden was recalled into work to help with evacuations and I was told to wait at the bus stop where I collected the girls from their school bus and wait until it was safe to return home.

Around 6.30pm Linden told me I could go back home. The smoke was so thick and there were so many people unable to get back to their homes, either due to the fire being too close or the highway being closed. I opened the house up to whoever needed a safe place and we had about a dozen people waiting until the highway was clear for them to head back to their homes.

The next day the smoke was still chokingly thick and I decided the best place for the girls and I would be at work/school as the fire was nowhere near there. It’s been a very scary and stressful week with flare ups and more houses lost in the area. There have been times when I didn’t know exactly where Linden was and unable to contact him. I’ve been concerned about friends who are now in the area where the fire is burning but I know they have a good evacuation plan and the fire crews are looking after that area.

We have had the helicopters refuel at the town oval and that’s been exciting to watch, especially the ones with the water buckets. Elvis the water bombing helicopter has been here doing an amazing job as has the fire retardant planes. Fire crews from NSW and QLD have all been working around the clock to contain the fire.

A recovery centre has been set up in our local hall to drop donations for all the people that have either lost homes or been evacuated and unable to yet return. The girls and I took a delivery of items over on Saturday afternoon and the volunteers in there are such hardworking, selfless people. I’m so impressed by the community spirit.

I have read there have also been deliveries of hay for the farmers who no longer have food for their livestock.

The last update I had seen was that the fire was being contained so I am hopeful that things improve soon. Though the hot and extremely dry conditions will continue this week. We are in desperate need of some rain.

Our town is not currently in danger but surrounding areas still are. The fire has turned away from town, moved back up to where it started and is burning around 15 minutes West of Tabulam. The many fire crews, pilots, emergency services and community recovery centre have been amazing. We can’t thank them enough for what they have done. We all hope this nightmare is over soon.

A positive attitude

What a whirlwind the last few months have been. It’s hard to believe it’s 2019 already and is likely to be our last year here in Tabulam. Alice is starting Year 6, the final year of Primary School so the big decisions need to be made this year of what High School we will apply for. Lucy will start a new school this year, joining Alice at St Mary’s and will be in Year 5. She’s nervous and a bit sad to be leaving more friends but I know she’s going to love it and do so well there. Both girls had a fantastic year at school last year and we were so proud of them. Lucy achieved lots of sporting awards for both Cross Country and Athletics at the end of school presentation night. Alice received a medal for 11 Year Girls Athletics Champion.

They were both extremely busy towards the end of the year with presentation nights, end of year concerts at school and gymnastics. They also competed at Zone level for Little Athletics. They both qualified for Regionals in February but we decided it was too far to drive for the weekend being so close to starting school again so won’t be attending.

This school holidays have been very busy but so much fun. I don’t know if I’m ready to go back to work next week but having a routine again will be good.

We spent 3 weeks back on the Central Coast catching up with family and friends. The girls had a busy schedule with every day booked up with playdates and shopping days. We went to the beach almost every morning to surf, swim or walk along the beach. It was just magic to be back near the ocean. We managed to fit in a night in Sydney and had a lovely 2 days wandering around the Botanic Gardens and a bus trip out to Bondi Beach.

Linden and I caught up with a builder and a handyman to organize some renovations to the house. It’s going to be an exciting year.

I have started the year with a positive attitude and have so much to look forward to. We have booked our first overseas family holiday to Phuket for the July school holidays.

Linden has gone back to work after having a month off. The girls and I decided to have a quick trip up to Brisbane to visit my dear Aunt and Uncle and Cousin Cate. It was good timing as my other cousin from Perth was visiting with his daughter, who I haven’t seen in years. We had such a lovely 2 days with them all.

I think we are all ready for the new school year to start next week and we are all very excited about what this year holds for the Jewkes family.

Until next time x

F a c e b o o k
T w i t t e r