Here Where The Sun Don’t Shine

Around here we take our slip slop slap seriously.

By which I mean, Tracey takes our slip slop slap seriously and the rest of us have learned we’ll get out the door if we don’t try to argue.

Which is a good thing. After all, the risk of melanoma needs to be taken seriously by at least one member of the family unit. And I’m pleased to announce we evidenced today the message has clearly started to sink in with at least one of our little munchkins.

“Who wants a swim?” I asked the kids, and was nearly crushed in the stampede for the door.

I suspected they might want to jump in the pool because, despite nothing actually being said about the possibility of a splash, they were all wearing their swimmers. I think one of them (I suspect Miss9) put hers on and then the rest optimistically followed suit.

Which I totally get.

We were all a bit desperate to get out of the bus. This is the first day since Christmas no one in the family has felt sick. There’s still the odd short temper hovering around our conversations, but no sore muscles and headaches and nausea, which is just so excellently nice.

And then there’s been the rain. Lots of it. It was all sunny while we were sick, and now it’s overcast and soggy.

Personally, I love the rain. It’s the perfect excuse to not paint a fence or mow the yard. But now we don’t have a fence or yard to worry about it does seem, ironically, to be interfering with the kids’ love of water play.

Being in a bus in a campground, I’ve decided I love rain even more. There’s a sort of smug humour to be carved out of sitting in a comparatively spacious bus during a storm and sipping coffee while watching families in tents. It sounds cruel, but I figure only if they catch me looking.

Now I know you can swim in the rain and not get any wetter, but the really important point to consider here is you can’t watch kids swim in the rain from a lovely dry seat and not get any wetter.

“Sunscreen!” Tracey yelled, stopping the kids in their tracks. “It might be overcast outside but you can still get burnt. Don’t miss anywhere.”

I wasn’t planning on getting wet myself, but while they scrambled for the sunscreen I took the opportunity to push past them to grab the essentials for watching kids in the pool – my iPhone and a coffee.

Usually, when there’s one of something and five of our kids, the whole scene falls apart immediately. But I think because they all wanted the same thing – a refreshing dip somewhere other than the bus – they were managing to share the tube of sunscreen with an almost unprecedented show of consideration and patience. The best of intentions aside, there was simply no way it was going to last.

“AHHHHH!” came the scream from the front end of the bus, where they were all putting the 50+ lotion on. “AHHHHHH!!”

Tracey can tell from a baby’s cry whether it’s hungry or has wind. That’s her gift to our sanity. My area of expertise is screams.  I knew, for example, there wasn’t a snake, toad or butterfly in the bus: those screams are more shrill and uncontrolled. I also knew there were no broken bones or scratched mozzie bites in need of a bandaid to stem the flow of arterial-imagined-blood: those screams are deeper and more guttural.

These screams, by comparison, were slightly melodic, which told of a more emotional disaster than the fear of pain or imminent death. My most excellent analysis of the source of their anguished cries was soon confirmed.

Four of our five children were in a state of panic. I can’t remember the exact details of who was doing what, but hands were covering eyes on some while others couldn’t look away from ‘the horror’. The big drama wasn’t immediately obvious to me in the tangle of arms and legs, although it was immediately clear who was at the centre of it.

Our youngest child, Miss4, stood calmly amongst the fuss – those beautiful, innocent, slightly confused eyes of hers taking in one screaming sibling and then the next, as if to say, ‘what’s up with you idiots?’

Then I saw the cause of the ruckus as the scrambling of kids to get way from their little sister opened a gap.

Our youngest was standing in the aisle of our bus, swimmers around her ankles, wiping a generous handful of sunscreen up between her butt cheeks.

“What are you doing?” yelped Tracey, dashing forward to reef Miss4’s hand out of her bum crack, then pull up her swimmers – not easy whilst trying to avoid contact a hand full of white lotion which was whipping about like a dropped garden hose.

Miss4’s expression still gave no indication she considered herself to have done anything wrong. Fair enough really, when you consider her position.

As she explained to her Mum, “You said put it everywhere.”

Bath time.  Had to get them out soon after this photo though. Looked like rain. Which makes sense when you take into account I wasn’t swimming and didn’t want to get wet…
…which lasted several more minutes until I started the pool shower for the kids to wash the chlorine off. I was careful to stand behind the pole when I turned it on…
…but as you can see I failed to take into account my usual dumb run of luck.
Inflatable pool toys have many uses, all of them fun.
Cooking dinner. Well, watching Tracey cook dinner. According to the kids, camping is no excuse to not have spag bog two or four nights a week. Shame.
Sharing an umbrella. Simple and, to me, beautiful. 
Can’t get over people swimming on the beach. If they need a sign, it’s not a good sign.
Crocs, jellyfish and the general air of drownings in the news lately, we haven’t told the kids there’s a beach here yet, let alone shown them. Maybe on the day we leave. As we leave.
Auntie Kerri (and Grandma) joined us for a cuppa today, and gave Miss4 her birthday present. Miss4 isn’t allowed to open it until her birthday which means we have to keep it hidden. So far, no luck. We’ve had to move it twice already and it’s been 12 hours.
Tracey’s started practicing with her new lens – a 35mm for better shots in the cramped bus space.


Miss13 cooked the family a gluten free chocolate cake today, which brought smiles to everyone’s faces.
She was a bit chuffed with herself.
Hard to get some privacy with seven people on a 12m long bus, but we’ve made each of the kids beds their own private space nobody else is allowed in or on unless invited. It’s working so far. Each bed has a light and a curtain and charger for iPhones or iPads or Kindles.
Writing in their daily journals is to be part of their homeschooling. Given the amount of snappy instructions I’ve been issuing this last week I figure I’m probably featuring fairly prominently at the moment. And not necessarily as the wonderful whimsical bus driver I am.
But that aside, what a lovely classroom!

Raising a family on little more than laughs


  • Love reading about your travels. Tracey’s lens is going to get a lot of use. Love the kids in the bus and Miss 13 does look proud. Was there any brownie left??

  • Miss 13 is getting more beautiful by the day (if that’s at all possible!). I hope you’ve planned your travels to avoid the wet and cold. Warmer places are so much nicer when you’ve limited space. Happy trails ?☀️

  • Great to see you have settled into a routine which works for your family. Shows how well orchestrated your way of family life was in your house. Being in a tighter space brings out the truth ?
    You and Tracey appear to be quite relaxed and happy…..just the correct tonic as Mary Poppins would say, so well done you!
    Looking forward to your next episode.
    Stay safe and enjoy ?

  • On the off chance the thoroughly applied sunscreen doesn’t do its job and someone gets burnt, palmersnight cream is the best thing I’ve ever come across! Literally apply, shower, reapply, got to bed, wake up a normal colour!! Better than any aloe Vera I’ve ever used.
    Glad your trip’s been awesome so far.

  • Bruce you made me laugh as I can see Miss 4 perfectly. She is precious.
    Love following your travels.
    Hope no one else tells the kids about the beach.
    Enjoy the coffee.

  • Miss 4 is a treasure! Taking instructions very literally! Made me laugh till I cried. Reminds me of my own kids 🙂

What do you think?

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.