Grossly Underappreciated

“You’ve lost weight,” I told Tracey this morning as I had to shimmy past her in the bus hallway to get to my coffee.

“I have not,” she countered.

“Actually, Mum,” said Master12, “you have.”

Sometimes your kids say the most wonderful things. And sometimes…

“Mum, can I ask you a personal question?” said Miss10.

Tracey had taken her op shopping around Narrabeen for jackets. We try to take one kid with us when we’re running chores so they get our attention without the background stress of their siblings.

“Sure,” said Tracey, wondering where this was leading.

You really never know what’s going to come out of Miss10’s mouth: She’s the magic eight ball of children.

“Were you raised the same as what you’re raising us?” she asked.

“What do you mean?” asked Tracey, assuming she was about to get a lecture on parenting along the lines of we’re doing it wrong.


“Were your parents as gross as you and Dad?”

Tracey went to explain our parents weren’t gross, but then realised that was essentially agreeing we were.

“Define gross?” she asked instead.

“You know,” Miss10 said, “gross.”

When Tracey was retelling the story to me later that day, I confess at this point I wondered if our daughter meant how I know I have one nostril much smaller than the other: as in one barely fits a pinky while the other has wiggle room after housing a thumb.

“We’re not gross,” Tracey corrected her.

“Yes, you are. You’re always making rude jokes with each other. You know,” and at this point she screwed up her face so much it looked like a raisin impersonation,”kissing…and stuff. It’s a bit disgusting. But did your parents do it too?”

“They did a bit,” said Tracey.

Mine too. A bit. I think, if I’m honest, we’re a bit more open and flirty about it. But then we have a lot more kids than they have so the opportunities to sneak a kiss or hug in private aren’t as forthcoming.

“It’s just,” Miss10 went on, finally coming around to her point, “I’m worried.”

“Worried? About what?”

“That one day I’ll be as gross as you. I’m hoping it’s not hereditary.”

So it was lovely to have a bit of yin and yang, with Master12 balancing out Miss10’s gross disclosure with the revelation he thinks Tracey’s losing weight.

“You’ve lost so much weight,” insisted Master12 . “You’re looking really, really good, Mum.”

“You really think so?” said Tracey, visibly chuffed.

He’s such a sweetie, our boy. He always seems to know just what to say. Right up until the point he doesn’t.

“Yeah, absolutely,” he went on. “You used to be so fat.”

After our second flat tyre in two days we arrived late at Inland Waters Holiday Park, Lake Keepit. Thankfully, someone had started a fire in the fantastic camp kitchen so we all sat around chatting and telling our stories and getting warm.
11 degrees. Can’t wait to see this mob when we’re down to single figures. Or worse.
The next morning we explored what there is to do here and came to the conclusion there’s so much! Like running around the edge of the water park because their mother would have killed me if they got wet in this weather.
A skate park which doubles as a bike park.
A dirt bike track.

Several play parks.

Sitting around the fire we learned only a week or so ago there were around two thousand people camping here. At first I was horrified, but the next morning after looking around you can see there’s room and fun enough for everyone.
Especially when you consider all the options for water activities – like this platform and slide off the shore which I went out of my way to make sure the kids didn’t notice. Because cold. And washing.
Finally! Bonnydoon! Looks different in the film but I guess that’s movie magic.
Because I wanted to be able to say ‘I’ve performed in Tamworth’ we went in search of a karaoke bar. Unfortunately, the only one we could find open also advertised topless waitresses. I’m not a prude but I confess it did make me question the venue’s family friendliness. We went to a park instead. And what a park! My kids are still talking about Tamworth because of this place.
Kids loved this bit of equipment so much we went back the next day, and I sent my local councillor a photo saying we desperately need one in Gympie.
You can’t go to Tamworth without visiting the Australian Country Music Hall of Fame. I’m sure that’s a thing. As it was right next to the Paradise Tourist Park we stayed at I popped over. Also, the caravan park! Awesome service, and the camp kitchen and community family room was the best yet.
I recognised nothing in this section. But I wanted one of these suits so bad. One day I’m determined to get myself an avocado safari suit. We all have dreams.
This section is really well done. I recognised a couple of people. Disappointed Caitlyn Shadbolt isn’t represented.
We have two country theme songs for our Big Lap: On The Road Again and I’ve Been Everywhere, Sign says this bike was ridden by the composer of the later from England to Australia. Must have been before rising waters flooded the land bridges.

“What’s a warf?” Master12 wanted to know.
‘…as the Manly Ferry makes its way to Circular Quay.’ Living out the lyrics of my youth. Couldn’t wait for the kids to play up so I could Reyne down on their heads and tell them I don’t like that kind of behaviour and don’t be so reckless. Boom!

Touched the Sydney Opera House tiles. Mission accomplished. Lifetime achievement award issued. Happiness maxed out.
Father mocked.

You can tell we’re country hicks. One of the biggest thrills for the kids was the public transport. One train, two ferries, three buses. Kids insisted and can’t wait for us to go in and do some more. This time they want to do an hour on a train instead of one stop.

We don’t see much by way of beggars in Gympie. Seems odd just writing the word. Turned around and Miss10 was putting some of her pocket money into this man’s cup. She felt six feet tall afterwards. Given she doesn’t have much money left in her purse I hope he spends his 10c wisely.
We found Mecca. The Apple store. Tracey had her iPhone replaced (so I got mine back) and we bought five more charging cords because the kids have destroyed most of the ones we own. New rule in the bus – no playing iPads while charging them.
Kids played games while we waited. Cheapest games arcade in town.
Kids loved watching street performers. This guy had glass baubles and yo-yos. More pocket money disappeared.
“Can we go on the ride?” Miss7 asked. “What ride?” I asked looking around. She pointed. “Sure can,” my wallet and I grinned. Who needs Luna Park?!

Tracey captured this. Wow. Sydneysiders, I envy you your city. Do you ever get used to this?
I took a photo too. Mine was a bit shit.
Seagulls flew with the ferry all the way home. It really was wonderful and far more beautiful than the impression given by this photo. Kids named them and had races. Just from my peripheral interest in the ‘event’ I suspect there was a lot of cheating going on and yet nothing but giggles and laughter and people moving to quieter seats inside.
We don’t go to restaurants very often but decided to avoid peak hour by eating pizza. Pretty sure that’s a thing. And what a pizza! One meter long and topped with the good stuff.
Also had three bowls of gluten free pasta for Miss7 and Miss13 which meant MORE PIZZA FOR ME
Staff at Via Napoli Surrey Hills were wonderful and gave the kids a tour of where the magic happens.
More than by luck than intention, we managed to meet up with Campbell this week in Sydney and thank him for sending our family a bear hug by the name of Winner Devereaux when Tracey was at her worst. This little fella is our bus mascot as we travel around Australia. The bear I mean. Not Campbell. If you’re in Sydney on the 15th July you can meet him too. And Lifeguard Maxi. He’s got a sensational Gala happening to raise money for Love Your Sister and P365 Kindness Cruises. Last year they raised over $30K!  Looks like a great night planned!

Raising a family on little more than laughs

This post isn’t sponsored, although Destination NSW organised for us to stay in Tamworth and Lake Keepit. The fuel to get there, the food, the flat tyres (yep, two) were all on us. 

DID YOU KNOW: Locals and visitors to NSW are encouraged to upload their inspirational holiday videos at Holiday snaps can also be shared on Instagram and Twitter using #ILoveNSW. The best video and photo submissions, showcasing the unique regions and experiences in NSW, will be heroed in a series of eight curated short films produced by Destination NSW that demonstrate how rich and diverse the State is. #ILoveNSW runs until 18 May 2017 with the eight finalists announced on 05 June 2017. The best video contributions will win a Canon prize pack, which includes a Canon EOS M3 Single Lens Kit and a photography tutorial – the details for that are available on their site

1 Comment

  • If you really want a safari suit my dad has a collection of them!! I would be happy to donate one to you! Don’t know what he will think about that, but ….,,,,,

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