Tag Archives: Holiday

Birds? I’m driving . . .

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Australian Wood Duck

Australian Wood Duck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week, I’ve learned three things:
1. Don’t let the bird-watcher drive the car;
2. If the track looks like no-one uses it, there’s probably a reason; and
3. You’re never too old to be car sick.

I’m writing this now, so you can rest assured, it didn’t end too badly. But there was a moment I thought we were coming unstuck.

It was meant to be a pleasant country drive. A few hours out in the bush looking for birds and finding that perfect picnic spot. The reality became a mixture of terror, frustration and shallow breathing.

The so-called ‘track’ provided a perfect view over the nearby river. All good. Unfortunately, my husband was busy looking at the treetops and not overly concerned with the direction we were taking. Not so good.

Then the single-vehicle ‘track’ started getting thinner and the only way out took us down a 45 degree slope toward a watery canal. Again, not so good.

“We’ll have to go back,” I said.

“Not likely,” was the reply.

And looking back along the ‘track’, I could see the sense in that statement. Sadly, the alternative was no more enticing.

I braced myself for the worst as we made the death-defying descent.

I think I heard my husband laughing, but I can’t be sure. I couldn’t look at him. We got to the bottom and suddenly another track materialised. “Oh, there it is,” was all he said.

An hour of winding bush tracks followed. Around this time, lesson three made itself known.

All I know is this – birds may be beautiful. The bush may be too. But bitumen, sweet bitumen, is my best friend.

Hooked on books . . .

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So my holiday reading list lasted about three days.

Matthew Reilly was as reliable as ever with Scarecrow and the Army of Thieves. His love of weaponry and all their acronyms proved endearing and the fast-paced action propelled me through until the end. Frankly, Mr Reilly, you had me at Scarecrow.

Miranda Hart’s autobiography Is It Just Me? was a rollicking read. Her chapter on weight loss, though brief, was highly practical – eat less, exercise more. Now you know.

I suspect she began writing the book when composing a letter to your younger self was in vogue. However, by the time it had reached publication, the premise was a bit naff, so no mention of it during the book’s promotion. Never mind. You don’t see many of these offerings where the younger self talks back and expresses her disappointment at how bits of her life have turned out. It was all in good fun.

Last on my list was The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. This one was the tear-jerker my sister promised it would be. It was simple, heartfelt and beautiful all at once. A quick read, but a lingering memory.

Well, that took three days. What to do next? Hit up the kids’ book shelves, of course!

Andy Griffiths (the author, not the similarly named actor) knows how to turn gross into fabulous with alarming ease. He takes the worst case scenario and tries to figure out how it could possibly be even more unpleasant, life-threatening or stomach churning. There should be more of this in adult fiction! I read my way through Just Tricking and Just Doomed along with The Very Bad Book, The 13 Storey Treehouse and its sequel. Safe to say I will be following them up with some of his other titles.

All in all, the holiday reading proved very therapeutic and a fabulous distraction from warring children.

Now how long til the next holidays?

Return to sender . . .

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The letterbox at our place is like a window into the lives of all the people who have lived here before us.

Almost every week, without fail, a letter arrives for someone who used to call our house ‘home’.

There’s the high end shopping catalogue that I forward with a sigh of regret. (If only I had the money to spare I’d treat myself to one of those ridiculously simple yet perfectly fitted outfits with a price tag to make you gasp.)

Then there’s the seniors ‘special offer’ guide. Every time this one appears in the box I am forced to gaze into the future and wonder what life will be like when I join the grey brigade. (That said, man, they get some good deals! There are perks to getting older.)

But my particular favourite is the regular Christmas letter from a girl we shall call Sue. Sue must suffer from a) very poor memory when it comes to sticking her envelopes closed; b) extreme laziness when it comes to sticking her envelopes closed; or c) dry mouth (this is a new one I just heard about on the telly).

Now, in defence of my own voyeurism, I opened the first letter without looking to see who it was addressed to . . . then nosiness got the better of me. It was so lovely to hear that Sue’s house hunting had gone well, the holiday in Fiji had gone off without a hitch and there was a new man in Sue’s life – she was as surprised as anyone!

Sadly for Sue, there was no return address so I hung onto her letter just in case the writer or intended recipient ever came knocking at our door.

When a second letter arrived some months later, I thought it might provide the information I was hoping for. As it turns out, it was a thank you note for a wedding gift. It seems Sue and her new man had tied the knot. But somehow, the addressee’s change of abode had still not registered with Sue.

So, what to do?

Firstly, to Sue, I say: ‘No trouble at all, I can’t think of a person more deserving of happiness and I just hope the salad servers come in handy’. And to all the others who have forgotten to change their addresses – I will continue to forward anything I can and return-to-sender all those I am sick of receiving. Cheers.

Footnote: Opening of any mail was unintentional or with the purest of motives. Please forgive 🙂