Who knew that an infected foot could “put you on your arse” for over a month!
Well, I had the um, pleasure, of finding that one out for myself.
But actually, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise.
WHERE TO BEGIN?
After driving through Australia for two long days to make it back in time to see my dear father for a few precious days before he passed away. Then having to deal with the funeral and all the goings on that death brings about. I finally managed to get my aching foot to the doctors to be told that my common planter warts had gone septic (my bad). An infection was now waging a war down there and strong antibiotics and some serious rest was needed. So I took this in my stride, which was fairly wonky at this stage (my stride that is) and decided to accept this time of forced minimal physical activity and to make the most of my situation by putting it to some well overdue catching up with my beautiful family.
XMAS TIME IS HERE!!!
Carols by candlelight was the first of the gatherings. This was with my sister Nadia and my four oh-so-sweet nieces down at our local park in country Victoria. No signs of Santa or even a simple burning candle. Deemed far too dangerous these days (the candles, not Saint Nick) and too busy singing about Wise Men and Holy Places to fuss about a few reindeer’s on the snow.
But for me it was more about the family gathering than the actual festive event. I’ve missed so many of these times with my family over the years that I’ve been travelling. So spending time like this is just precious to me. The kids are all doing a great job of growing up, but it’s fun to see them still just being kids. Something I’ve always liked to remind my inner child of too!
CHRISTMAS DAY & ALL THE TRIMMINGS
Christmas day was spent at Nadia’s home. Enjoying the lunch alfresco style, surrounded by farms and open paddocks, with plenty of room to let the animals run around with all the other animals (sorry, I meant to say children). It’s safe to say that my family does Christmas like so many others out there. With way too much food and plenty of leftovers to enjoy for the days that follow. But it was brilliant to be together. Minus one special Father this year at the table, but strong in our hearts forever.
Wasn’t surprising that this average Victorian summer hadn’t delivered a 40c degree day. I was more grateful that the clouds had held off and we got some beautiful rays of sunshine to warm our Christmas bellies with. My last Christmas spent with the family was over 8 years ago. It turned out to be a fresh 18c degrees and raining cats and dogs. But we still had our prawns on the BBQ, albeit under the cover of the garage.
HAPPY NEW YEAR 2015
The coming of the New Year was also joyously brought in with a family gathering. We filled up my mum’s tiny dining room as we got into our take-away pizza’s (a treat in my household) and waited for the 9pm Sydney Harbour Bridge fireworks to commence. I might not have made it to midnight but I was much more happy to have been surrounded by my family for at least one New Years Eve. And to start the shining next year with those nearest and dearest to me.
Speaking of those near and dear to me. With my foot all bandaged up I wasn’t doing much driving at all. Which meant that I hadn’t had the chance to catch up with my friends who live all the way up in the suburbs. Though it was lovely to see some of my friends make it down for my father’s funeral (Cheers, again, sunshines).
So, my country birthday was a brilliant excuse to drag some of them out of the ‘burbs and down to where the air is clear. It’s always a buzz for me when my friends and family get to meet and hang out. It’s like the two halves of my life in Victoria meeting up, putting the faces to the names that I always talk about.
Once again this blessed inconsistent summer held off on any rain and gave us a good excuse to get the bushman’s tele (an open fire) up in action. I’d made plenty of plans to venture into the big smoke to go and catch up with my mates, all once my blessed foot was back in action.
I NEED TO MOVE
But for the time being, although my foot was still in a constant state of pain, I just couldn’t sit still. I cleaned, I gardened, I organised all that I could. I read, I researched and I got ready for the adventures to come. I cooked, I listened, I helped out however it was required.
Though at times I felt I could barely stand, the rest of my body and mind wasn’t having much of this forced Rest & Relaxation. At all!!
NOOJEE TRESTLE BRIDGE
So finally one day when I was babysitting my nephew, Aaron, I finally cracked and we headed out and about for a decent drive further into the country. Behind my town we have the foothills to the Great Dividing Ranges, heading towards Mt Baw Baw. Magical hills with roads that weave you up and down the windy paths, past all the lush green sloping farm lands and into the beautiful dense forest, leaving you surrounded by the tree ferns, with the mountain ash towering over you.
We were heading for the Noojee Trestle Bridge. A Grand Wooden structure preserved from the time of the logging trade that helped to build this bridge and this beautiful region out of the forest.
Happily, I returned a few weeks later, once my foot was all fit and rearing to go, out to the Noojee State Forest with my brother, Bill, my nephew, Alex and his mate. For a weekend of camping at the peaceful Poplars Reserve. We arrived and had two hours to set up our camp, have some dinner, turn on the bushman’s tele and have the heavens open up on us.
One of Summer’s sensational storms had decided to grace us with it’s presence and then decided to hang out with us, for 12 hours, non-stop!! Thankfully, after a damp and misty morning the sun came out in all her glory for a beautiful clear blue sky afternoon. Ah, Victoria, you love to keep us on our toes!!
We even managed to make it out to Tooronga falls, which after all the rain we had were in fine form for a summer stream. Still far too icy for me to be stepping into those waters though. Like, EVER!!!
HERE’S TO MOVING FORWARD
It’s been brilliant having this time with my family. A chance to catch up and to just enjoy the company of one another. It’s something that I will always cherish. With the sweet memories of the past gatherings and the plans for the future gatherings always keeping me going when i’m travelling on the road. So, with the foot all healed up, it’s the open roads that are calling me now. Time to get back out there. Time to re-connect and time to turn this travelling life into a completely new direction.
ONWARD EVER, BACKWARD NEVER