03 October, 2014

Holiday in the country

We’ve spent the last 12 days out of Brisbane in smaller places.

This was our camping spot.
Not my best photo, but I haven't downloaded the rest yet.
We spent time with my family in Toowoomba, but left on Thursday of last week and have really been “in the country” since then. We camped ½ hr away from a town of 1,200 people for four nights, several hours away from Brisbane. We had no near neighbours there. Wow! It was great to be back under canvas. I could have stayed there longer.

With heaps of free timber, we had campfires every night except the first. On the first night we were rushing to get the tent up and airbeds pumped before the sun went down. Thankfully we didn’t try for a campfire because not long into our sausage sizzle (courtesy of a portable gas BBQ) we caught the side of a thunderstorm.

I’m also thankful that, though we were a bit isolated, we were camped next to a fully equipped cabin (but vacant). Equipped with solar electricity as well as all that might be necessary to feed a crowd. I have to admit we borrowed a few items from the kitchen! The electricity meant that the boys ended up doing more screen-time than I really wanted, but as the main screen in use was a brand new one bought with saved-up money, I tried not to be too grumpy about it.

My sister-in-law's alpacas.
See her website here: http://www.rosegumalpacas.com.au 
On Sunday we went to the church in the town and did the travelling Marshall deputation circus. David and I spoke in church and we stayed afterwards to the “basket lunch” (bring and share lunch).

On Monday we packed up camp drove west to visit David’s family. Most of them are in or around a town of about 600 people. We’ve been staying with David’s sister on the property they work on, about 20 minutes out of town on a dirt road. The boys have enjoyed time with their five-year old cousin and his Mario Racing game. Oh, and they’ve also fed the alpacas, ridden a quad bike, gone fishing, ridden in a harvester (their uncle is harvesting wheat just now), and collected eggs from the vast hen run. Our eldest has also had his first driving lessons (three different instructors so far, none of them me) and driven the harvester!

I’ve not been doing a lot. I did get in a doctor’s visit (I always seem to end up needing some sort of medical care when I’m out here). I also had a go at spinning alpaca wool and put in some hours with my cross-stitch. But generally I always feel terribly inadequate when we’re visiting my in-laws. Their lives are very different and my usual place of efficiency is hundreds of kilometres away. But they've made us feel very welcome and it has been a relaxing week.

Alas we have to return to our busy lives this weekend. The boys aren't looking forward to driving about 10 hours back to Brisbane tomorrow. But it really is a fact of life for many Australians. And certainly our family has had their fair share of road trips. Our romance included a trip up to this area in our early days. Driving hours in a car is a great way to have lots of conversation, an experience that probably did a lot to cement our relationship. So we really don't mind these long trips.

I'm just so thankful for the opportunity to get away from our usual busyness and relax. Transitioning to Australia was tiring, this was a much needed break.

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