School Holidays

Ok, so I suppose it is time to update you on our School Holidays trip to Little Duna. This week of course being the first week of the school holidays, Fiona and I thought it would be a great chance to torture the kids… err… I mean get the kids off the computer and spend a week camping on the land.

We delayed our departure on the weekend to help Kate move to Cheltenham. “probably just need you to do a trailer load” she said… hehe… luckily I knew better!! Took us most of the day to load the truck, van and trailer and shift it. Had some interesting challenges with getting some of the furniture upstairs… let’s just say it is lucky I had my ropes in the car!!!

 

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Anyway, ended up being a full day of moving, so it was about 6:30pm when we finally got home. Much to Zac’s disappointment though, Fi and I were still keen to head up that night so we could wake Sunday in Violet Town and make the most of the day. Fi was going to have to come back Monday Β to work, so would have been a pain if we hadn’t even gotten up here until lunchtime on Sunday.

So, we ate a quick dinner and finished packing the car and caravan. We did pretty good time really, although it was about 9:30pm by the time we were ready to leave. I pulled the van out the front to fill the tanks, which ended up with our neighbours coming out to see what we were doing, luckily David across the road came out as he was able to help me as we attempted to leave….

Those of you who have been you our house would know that the street is not very wide and we often have trouble with cars parking on both sides of the street. Not an issue if people put a wheel on the grass, but sometimes we get morons who just park on the road. You can just squeeze a car through, but there is no chance of getting the van through! Was about half way up the road I came to a complete stop. There was no way I was getting past without taking the side off a black Mazda 3. What could I do… well given it was only 10pm, I sat on the horn waking most of the neighbours. I was loosing my patience by this time…

Eventually, Fi and I resulted to door knocking, and eventually Fi managed to find the owner. He could see by the look on my face I wasn’t in the mood to have a chat, so he sheepishly climbed into the passenger side of his car and moved it well out of the street… right, one down…

This is where I was happy David was there as while the cars at the top of the street weren’t as bad, there was maybe a centimetre spare on each side. After shoving all their car mirrors in (hey I could have just knocked the off!), David guided me through and we were on our way… at 10:30pm!!!!

Anyway, was well past midnight by the time we arrived, the kids had all flaked in the car, so Fi and I quickly made camp and put them right to bed. We are here πŸ™‚

Woke Sunday to a glorious sunny day, but my mood was soon dampened when I went to start the generator and it wouldn’t start. Had a flat starting battery πŸ™ To make things worse, I realised I had left the outside light on the caravan on all night, effectively draining a battery we now couldn’t charge!!!

Lucky I had my jump leads in the car and I was able to recharge the battery enough from the car. I left that going while Fi made us an awesome breakfast of pancakes and french toast… yummy πŸ™‚

After breakfast, I returned to the generator and this time it turned over but… would die as soon as it started??? Was like it was being starved for fuel. Grabbing my tool kit, I started some bush mechanics, draining the diesel from the tank and cleaning out the fuel filter. Managed to coat my hands in diesel in the process which is just what you want when you haven’t got much water and little way to clean them!!

I got it all back together, but it was doing the same thing, kicking over and starting but then stopping πŸ™ was about then I gave up.

So the rest of the day was spent relaxing, although I must say up here I never seem to get much time during the day to just sit. There is always something to do, even if it is just going for a walk with the dogs. I found the totem tennis that Mark had donated to the block in the caravan, so set it up for the kids. Would you believe that Zac has found a new passion. He spent hours hitting that ball back and forth until he had a blister on his hand… then he did it some more!!

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Biggest problem was we only had one totem tennis and three kids… you can imagine the arguments that developed. So, I implemented a new rule for the holiday. If you can’t play, speak or be nice, then you must walk down to the front gate and back. Worked a treat and the kids have made many a trip to the front gate and back. Seems to cool their heads a little, although Tara has learnt that if you still come back grumpy, you can be turned around and sent straight back!!!! The threat at night is the best, as they know I will send them in the dark if they don’t stop… hehe I can be so mean!!

So Sunday afternoon, Fi and the kids took off on a walk to town leaving me with instructions to Β “Fix that bloody generator”, then come pick them up in town an hour later. After a bit of mucking around, I realised that the generator seemed to be making the same sound as when the fuel lines needed bleeding, so I quickly bled the line (only getting fuel all over one hand this time), kicked it over and….. SUCCESS!!

Since then we have had the generator running almost day and night, humming away in the background providing more than enough power for the caravans, kettle, toaster, iPads, iPods, iPhones and of course my Mac πŸ™‚

Proud of my achievement, I jumped in the car (after cleaning the fuel off my hand) and headed into town where I found Fi and the kids sitting outside the Cafe… they had only just arrived. We had some chips and Zac and I had a few pieces of their awesome fried chicken before Zac, Jess and I jumped back in the car while Tara and Fi opted to walk back. Fi was most impressed when she realised the generator was humming away πŸ™‚

So that was Sunday, Monday, well Fi left us.

No not like that, she headed back to Melbourne to work! The kids and I took a trip into Shepparton so I could get some more gas canisters from Kmart for the BBQ. We were almost there when I realised that being a weekday, the SPC factory outlet would be open. Now I must say this place goes off!!! The kids and I stocked up on goodies, although I’m sure if Fi was there she would have wanted more… there are heaps of bargains! For example we got trays of 12 x two fruit cups for $5 per tray!! Fantastic!!

After SPC, we headed over to Kmart to get the gas, and bought another totem tennis to try to ease the fights… seems I should have bought two! We also got some lunch from KFC… guess who picked that one…Zac!

After that we returned to the block where we managed to fill in the afternoon playing totem tennis while I pottered around.

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Really need to get another totem! At least they are only $12!

That evening as we lit the fire, I cooked up a BBQ feast before the kids all retired to the guest house to watch movies while I watched a few flicks on my Mac around the fire. While the days were nice and warm, the nights are still getting down pretty cold, so I am burning through our wood pile…literally!

Tuesday we woke to another amazingly sunny and warm day. The girls and I were up early as I had ordered another truck load of gravel for the road. This time I opted for a 60mm rock, and to be honest I should have got that to start with! Tara, Jess and I with Ruby and Kushi on leads headed down to open the front gate while Zac opted to sleep… he really must be a teenager now!

We made it to the gate just in time as Wal was coming up the road in the truck. I showed him where I wanted it on the boggy bits and he dumped it as Tara filmed it off to the side.

This time he also managed to get the gravel almost all the way to the shed site πŸ™‚ The larger rock is the key though, filling in the ruts that Giovanni had remade when he came up here after all the rain. Once he was done, Tara, Jess and I jumped in my car and we went up and down the driveway to try to compact the gravel. Poor Ruby followed the car back and forth, back and forth until I had to drive over to the dam so she could have a drink and a swim to cool off. I think she was about to collapse! Kushi followed us down on the first trip, then just stood in the driveway waiting to be run over… dumb dog! The girls jumped out and put him in the car so we didn’t have to worry about him.

Driveway done, we headed back to camp (where ruby did crash) to make a breakfast of pancakes for the kids and an omelet for me. After breakfast, I dragged the kids who had barely moved 50m from the camp out for a walk around the block… even the grumpy teenager was forced to come along. We wandered around together, although as I kept going at the second dam, the kids finally realised they can have fun and I left them running across the tree bridge laughing and being chased by the dogs.

Once we returned to camp, we changed into shorts saw it was starting to feel quite hot, then jumped in the car to head into town for Milk. Took a different track this time driving down some of the “dry weather only” roads exploring some of the neighbours farms.

Now as some of you are no doubt aware, the weather has been sensational the last few days, but Wednesday that was all going to end as we are expecting rain and possible thunderstorms. We had erected the pergola on Sunday, but had no walls on the side. This meant if it did rain everything under it was going to get wet. So, I rigged up some tarps as walls around two sides in preparation for the rain. Had to do a quick trip into Benalla in Β the afternoon as I realised I only had one tarp and we really needed to cover two walls to have any chance of keeping the wind and rain out.

It is crude but should hopefully do the trick… I’ll take a quick picture…

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Fi arrived back up here about 9:30pm. The kids were all watching a movie in the guest house, so they didn’t even realise she was here. I got her to sit in a chair under the pergola in the dark while I opened the door of the caravan and said to the kids, “Mum’s at the front gate and can’t get in… come on we have to walk down and let her in…”.

They all quickly and excitedly got their shoes on as Fi sat there quietly and watched, then Jess said “we need a torch!”.

“Here, take mine” I said, and as she turned the torch on she turned around to see Fi sitting there… “Mummy!” she screamed in surprise.

Well that’s it, sorry it was such a long read, but I did have to fit a few days in there. Today, well I’m sitting in the guest house writing this as the wind howls outside. So far we haven’t seen to much rain, although I can see from the ground that we got a sprinkling last night. Just enough to keep the dust down… oh and just realised I can see some drops on the sunroof… must be starting to rain now πŸ™

Let’s hope the thunderstorms by-pass us and we don’t get too much rain. While I’m not to worried about hanging out in the rain (much to Zac’s disappointment when he realised we are not going home just because it is raining) I am worried that it will be even longer before we can get our slab poured for the shed!

The rain is certainly around…

 

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Will see how we go, may take a trip into Glenrowan today and I think it is time Fi tasted the fine cuisine at the Violet Town Pub for dinner πŸ™‚

Will try to update you again, but otherwise will do a followup post once we are back this weekend.

Cheers πŸ™‚

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2 Responses to School Holidays

  1. Mum and Dad says:

    We hope you won’t get too much rain! Enjoy the rest of your holiday together and see you soon.

  2. Penelope says:

    Enjoying your blogs. Hope you are not forgetting what it was like to be 13ys old!!!! Am looking forward to the blog when your children are awake up to you!! Good luck & enjoy the rest of your stay. xx

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