You know you haven't written in awhile when an anonymous comment to your last post remarks, "Bored...this post becomes a little annoying to see over and over again." Ooops, sorry anonymous commenter.
On the MS front, not much is happening right now. Now can I complain about that? No way José. But I have learned something through trial and error. After a couple of days in a row of encountering very large bruises after my injections I decided I must be doing something wrong. It occurred to me if I was getting bruises maybe I was pressing too hard on my skin with the auto-injector - I know, light bulb right? So not only did the bruises not occur if I just placed the auto-injector on my skin... it hurt a whole lot less as well. So there you go... if you have to inject MS drugs and you are left contemplating angry bruises and pain, double check your injecting technique.
Moving along to Denmark. Denmark in the south of Western Australia is a small hippie town - my husbands words. It's located 400kms south of Perth and is surrounded by some amazing beaches, forests and wineries. When my bestest bud (BB) mentioned that she and her family were renting a house there for two weeks and would we like to come for a few days... I had to pick my words carefully. "I'll check with my husband". The last time I went to Denmark I stayed in a tent, it was freezing and it pissed down with rain. So did I really want to go - uh, no. I may have mentioned it to Ryan in passing, but certainly did not place any emphasis on it. However BB's husband informed Ryan they were going and did we want to come? Oh of course and I was voted off the island, thank you very much.
Now it's not that I don't like cold weather, I do... when you are properly prepared for it and when said cold weather isn't accompanied by rain. Given that we were mid winter and we were actually heading closer to Antarctica I figured rain would be part of the holiday. I was careful to pack raincoats and welly's for the kids as well as many warm jumpers and long sleeved tops as possible. We also packed our minus degree sleeping bags, so I was fairly confident I would not freeze to death in my sleep!
It rained on route to Denmark and was raining when we arrived. However I was pleased to see that Braidwood Retreat was furnished with many holiday necessities including a wood fire. But to my dismay it was not lit and roaring away warming the house! But in the BB's defence they have two small, early to bed rug rats and Dad BB was fishing with their soon to be departing current house guests.
On the first night after the four kiddies were in bed, there was a little alcohol to warm the cockles and much shooting the breeze (my husband says this is the same as shooting the shit, but without swearing!) I remember we all passed comment about a pic of Kimmy Kardashian's butt poking out of her bikini bottom. Was the butt big or the bikini bottom small?? Oh the seriousness of it all. Anyhow, as we were last in the house we drew the sofa bed near the fire... I was not at all unhappy, even with the prospect of being woken by four eager beavers at 6am for I knew I would be warm and snug all night. Little did I know at midnight I would wake, drowning in a pool of my own sweat. I got out of my sleeping bag and started peeling off the layers - first the socks, then the pj's, followed by the long johns, I put on my t-shirt and got back into my bag. An hour later I unzipped my sleeping bag to allow for some much needed ventilation. Eventually I got the temperature right with a leg poking out!
The following morning we headed to the Pentland Alpaca Stud and Animal Farm. Just ask my husband, but if you want to cheer me up and make me forget about the rain and squelching through mud just put a farm of pattable animals in front of me. It's even better if I have my two offspring with me so I can spend even more time feeding a cute alpaca, goat, kangaroo, rabbit, lamb, Beryl the big pig, Scottish Highland cows, a pony or koloa all the while encouraging them to have a closer look. Although Sabin required very little encouragement at all and is seemingly up for anything. Chynna, on the other hand is going through quite a testing phase of crying when she thinks an animal might eat her instead of eating the food from her hand.
After lunch back at Braidwood we took a trip to the cliffs overlooking Ocean Beach, Black Hole and Wilson Head. I think the heavy cloud coverage made the whole scene more spectacular and all the more foreboding. We were about to leave when we saw some dolphins, so back to the rocks we headed to see if we would get another chance to see them. We did and there is video I am taking with my voice saying "bloody" this and "bloody" that several times. Not in a bad way... I can't help it when I am excited I cuss... I just forgot I was in the company of a highly impressionable three year old. Needless to say little Master BB started to repeat the word “bloody” as soon as he got in his parents car! Oops and did I hear about it? Wash my mouth out with soap.
That night we moved into one of Braidwood's bedrooms. I put on all my clothes again - yes long johns and pj's and socks then jumped into my sleeping bag. I woke not long after boiling hot. First I just took off my pj's - how hot could I be without the fire I wondered? A little while later, still hot and unable to sleep I had to take off my long johns and socks. A little while later still, I had to unzip my sleeping bag. I was still fairly uncomfortable and wished I had brought my cotton sleeping bag insert, but I did eventually fall back asleep. Ryan also had a similar problem, yet he did not have layers of clothes to take off. So I think this proves that minus temperature sleeping bags are exactly that, made for minus temperatures – am I the only one who doubted this?
The following day we headed to the Valley of the Giants near Warpole to do the Tree Top Walk. I have done this several times, but it never gets old - it's so lovely to be amongst the trees. The walk is a 600 metre boardwalk in the 400 year old Tingle Tree tops. The kids loved it, especially Sabin who raced ahead of us. Even though in places we were 40 metres off the ground the safety fences were sufficiently high and unclimbable enough that I did not need to stress about his show exuberance.
Our next stop was Dinosaur World. The replica dinosaur skeletons and reptiles in the indoor exhibit were just ok. The feature for me was the sick snake, apparently he had just returned from the local veterinarian ... I don't know about you, but I hope they didn’t pay for its treatment because it looks pretty dead to me!! The absolute highlight was the bird exhibit. Before we were joined by the bird handler and before we knew the birds were shoulder friendly I sidled up to a black cockatoo to have a closer look and it jumped on my shoulder. My dad has a pet weero so I wasn’t particularly perturbed by it’s rather large presence on my shoulder, but it did have one massive beak, which could have easily have taken my nose off if he had felt so inclined.
The bird handler appeared and he gave a bird to everyone who wanted one. This was cool, especially because we were the only visitors at that time and didn't have to share. Then he looked at me and tutted slightly saying that I should be carrying the other black cockatoo. I didn't dare ask why, but readily handed the one on me over. It was quickly replaced by the other black cockatoo anyway, who I would have taken home if I had the chance. Sabin, to all of our surprise, was all for having birds of all sizes on him. Chynna again decided that she would much rather cry about having a bird on her because it might bite than actually trying it, until the very last second, when she realised she might really miss out. When we were ready to move on the handler tried to take the black cockatoo off me, it dodged his hands and tried to bite him to which I was informed wasn't a show of mad love, but that a black cockatoo bonds very quickly with whoever might be carrying it, especially if you are female. Boo!
We next entered the kangaroo enclosure and hand fed the kangaroos. Sabin marched right in and Chynna was again more cautious. I'm no expert, but I guess this behaviour disparity is due to their ages and stages. At least Chynna wasn't crying! The kangaroos were quite underwhelmed and felt no urge whatsoever to get up in our company. We had been in the enclosure for a while, when I had a thought about lying down next to the kangaroos and having my photo taken. I think Daddy BB must have read my mind or something, but he saved me from a whole pile of trouble in the form of huge Kangaroo Ticks, which he pointed out on the kangaroos. I made sure when we all bathed that night that I checked us all over because the last thing you need is a big tick hangin’ off your bum sucking your blood! Eeek!
That night, you will be pleased to know that I didn't wear my long johns - just my pyjamas. Unfortunately I still ended up quite warm. Geez, who would have thunk it? I really didn't need to worry about getting frozen to death in my sleep, but actually slow roasting in my sleeping bag instead. So I rather routinely took off my pjs and unzipped my bag to be comfortable enough to resume sleeping!
The following day we headed into town for a bit of a look around. It was a pleasant enough tour - the shops are highly focused on the tourist market, which is neither here nor there really, except I think the prices were a little inflated as a result. I was also looking forward to the pie shop, which Mummy BB had mentioned all week. I had a veggie pie that was so super delicious I wished I had bought two. We went down to the Denmark River where we were going to feed the ducks, but they were well out numbered by the seagulls, so we fed them instead! FYI, which was nowhere near as fun. The kids played on the very well equipped playground - yay for tourist towns! And then we headed home.
Later that afternoon while Sabin was taking a much-needed afternoon nap, the BB crew accompanied by Chynna and Ryan headed off to Light Beach for a spot of fishing and frolicking. I can tell they had a heap of fun by the photos. I had a nice moment to sit on the verandah, relax and read a book. When Sabin woke up I pushed him on the swing for what seemed like hours. He was happy so I was happy too.
The final chapter in the sleeping bag saga goes a bit like this... After three nights of waking up cooking up a storm, I decided I should just open up the sleeping bag and wear a t-shirt as opposed to the several layers I thought I needed to stay warm. I still woke up during the night to a chorus of "Mummy toilet" but I wasn't all hot and bothered. Clearly I am a bit slow in the learning by experience stakes...
The next morning we packed the car and tidied up the house before hitting the road for Perth. I had a really nice break with the BB family and hope that there is many more trips to come. You will also notice that I only mentioned rain once or twice because it stopped raining on the second day of our expedition south - thank goodness for that...