Don’t Mess With Me

You can’t hide mess living in a small home.

Or so we thought.

“Who left biscuits in my bed?” asked Miss13 as we were packing up to move camps from Mullumbimby to Alstonville.

I saw this as a frustrating question for two reasons – and it wasn’t even my bed!

The first problem was the kids aren’t allowed in each other’s bunks without permission from the bed because, in lieu of a great big couple of bedrooms to destroy between them, they essentially share a couple of thin wardrobes between the five of them. We think the kids need to have a space they can call their own. A not entirely unrelated bonus of this is they can be chastised for not cleaning that particular space without being able to blame anyone else.

In theory.

The second rule of the bus is no food in the bedroom section of the bus.


And I don’t understand why this has to be a rule because why would you want to eat in your bed and risk crumbs?

I determined immediately to find out who did this. Questions would be asked. Threats would be issued. No stone would be left untur-

“Oh,” said Master12, all innocence as he turned to face his sister. “I did.”

A-plus for honestly, I thought to myself as I took a deep breath to begin hurling a tsunami of chastisement his way.

But he went on…

“I thought you left it on my bed to prank me,” he told his sister, “so I was giving it back.”

It soon became clear she hadn’t been involved.

Which still begged the question, who left the bits of biscuit on his mattress?

Well, it seemed today was the day for taking ownership of your mistakes.

“I’m sorry,” pipped up Miss5, sounding almost exactly the way a remorseful person wouldn’t.

“Why would you do that?” Tracey asked her calmly. Meaning I had a lung full of rant I clearly wasn’t going to get a chance to use today. “You’re not allowed food on the beds.”

“And you’re not allowed on your brother’s bed unless he says it’s okay,” I added helpfully, thrilled to hammer home some sort of point.

“Okay, I’ll tell you the story now,” said Miss5, settling back on her chair and getting animated. “I ate a cracker I wasn’t allowed to have so I took it to the bed and it cracked so I put it there and went and got another one. Then you came and I had to put that cracker in the hole.”

“Hole?” Tracey and I said in unison. Also, in horror. “What hole?”

Three handfuls of biscuit bits later…

We thought, when we stuffed all our belongings into every nook and crevice we could find, we’d utilised every square inch of space in this bus.

Apparently not.

I’m thinking from now on, if we don’t catch Miss5 walking up the back with food in her hands, we really need to stop interrupting her until she’s secretly finished eating in her bed or we’re going to have food crammed into spaces we don’t know exist unless we spot a trail of ants disappearing into the cracks.

Also, next time we repack the bus she’s being conscripted.

She’s looking so guilty.
Probably goes a long way to explaining the mouldy tomato we found under the beds when we were washing the sheets last week. We really must learn to pay less attention.
Love it when you walk into a shop and they make your day just by being friendly and genuine. The guys at the bike shop in Mullumbimby – True Wheel Cycles – were awesome. Thanks for helping me not feel so stupid and to find the right parts.
Got my game face on as I try to fix the three old bikes and ‘dog’ so the kids can ride around and leave us alone. I mean, have fun. Ride around and have fun. That.
We only brought along cheap bikes for the trip because I don’t want to get too upset if they’re stolen. Unfortunately, they’re really, really cheap bikes. Tip bikes. Half a dozen tubes and a new tyre later…
Had some fantastic helpers….which might explain why I needed so many tubes.
Oooo someone’s spotted Mum with a camera. Strike the pose!
Sometimes they get pretty feral looking by the end of the day. Tracey hates it. I love it. Miss7 looks devastated the camera is focused on her sister. Assuming that’s it. Or, it might have been my language. Stupid bikes. 
She’s got the knife, fork and spoon down pat. We’ll work on the proper way to hold a screwdriver over the coming year.
If you look closely you might spot Miss7 is super keen to get the dog attached to my bike so we can get going. You might not see it. I do have a keen eye for these things.
After being moved on from Mullumbimby showgrounds because of a blues fest we were welcomed into the Alstonville showgrounds. We’ll probably be here for a week so we’re setting up the full kit.
Master12 thought to wear a helmet, because safety first. We’re getting much better at this. I’m basing that on the amount of swearing it takes to set up. I reckon I’ve got my cussing outbursts down to less than two dozen. That’s a parenting win, right there. 
I dangled the ‘I’ll get the bikes off once we’re set up’ carrot in front of the kids while we got all the stuff out. Imagine their horror when I went to remove them and someone (Miss13 it turns out) had spun all the dials (to keep them safe). I’ve had this combination lock for about eight years. I don’t know the combo. I just know I have to click the end one one space. So anyway, we don’t have a bike lock anymore.
We got there. A little too late for bike rides though.
My bike is still having some gear issues today, so I hooked the dog up to Miss13’s bike. Her and Master12 took their youngest two siblings  for rides in the showgrounds all day today. Smiles all around.
Took a couple of hours to drive around the countryside today – OMG this is such a gorgeous area! We were trying to work out what the rows of trees were. Spotted macadamia trees but thought some others looked like something else. “Apples,” said Tracey. I didn’t think so and asked her how she knew. “That’s what they look like on Hay Day.” Sooooo maybe not.
Siri and Google conspired to bring us to a spot by the side of the road where it said there was a waterfall – Marom Falls. My phone said something like, “Park the car and walk from here.” We parked and looked around. No signs. Fenced paddocks. It didn’t look hopeful. Then half a dozen teens walked up the paddock with towels around them. “Is this where the falls are?” I asked. Yep. “Isn’t this private property? Are we allowed in?” They assured me it was absolutely fine to slip through the wires at the ‘entrance’ and wander down.
Following a cow trail towards Marom Falls. Walking with the long grass kissing our knees amongst the calfs and their mums was super relaxing with nothing but the terrified screams of my children to break the spell.
Getting down to the water below this spot wasn’t looking very accessible so I left the kids to hide from the cows and went ahead to see whether a five and seven year old would be able to make the trek. Also, their anxiety was driving up my anxiety. I wanted a little break.
Met some locals on the way.
I was careful not to startle them, although a few calfs jumped happily away as I approached. I’m assuming happily.
This bit of the falls looked lovely. It was the other direction which was the worry.
This. No way could Tracey relax with that drop. And I didn’t fancy jumping in after a kid either. To be honest, the photo doesn’t really show how strong the flow was. Check out the 13 second video below. 

There was no one at the falls that I could see. Does make me wonder what those boys at the road were up to though. Probably glad I didn’t arrive five minutes earlier.
Shorts too. 
Leading the way, over hill and dale and cowpat.
Dear fellow campers. Sorry about that. False alarm. It has legs. Took me a minute to convince the girls, of course. They weren’t being bludgeoned to death, in case you were wondering. Back to sleep now. Nighties. Bruce x ps turns out this was a Verreaux’s Skink. Harmless. Except for the ear drum damage.

Dates for photos by Tracey:

Tamworth Region 21st April to 24th April

Sydney Region 25th April to 5th May

Canberra Region 7th May to 19th May

Wagga Wagga 20th May to 23rd May

Bathurst 26th May to 29th May

Sydney Region first week of June

If you’d like to make an enquiry contact Tracey at [email protected]

Raising a family on little more than laughs

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