Today’s weather forecast was spot on! A hot morning, thunder storms around lunch time, providing some relief from the 38 degree day!
Ava was up and out of her bunk bed bright and early, her excuse “I need a wee”. Taking her to the toilet, she spied Trixie sitting on the table hugging the little red Christmas tree we put up. I tried my best to mute her enthusiasm, taking hold of her arm and helping her out the door. Fortunately Caroline and Audrey didn’t stir from the commotion.
When we returned to the caravan, the other two girls were up. I made breakfast and proposed a plan of attack for our day. The plan was to exercise after breakfast, hit the beach (making the most of the heat before the thunder storm came through), girls have a rest after lunch followed by a drive (leaving Caroline back at the caravan for some alone time) to Condingup on a secret mission!
Caroline and I were exercising around 9am while the girls played in the playground. It was already over 30 degrees! Today I was the architect for the torturous exercise session. Boxing intervals with squats, push ups and sit ups. I was absolutely exhausted at the end of the session. When asking Caroline how she had faired, her response was “It wasn’t hard enough for me”. Pity there isn’t a pool nearby, she may beat me on land. I know she can’t keep up in the water!!
Barely able to walk after so many squats (I really do hate them), I sent myself off for a shower. My ‘man’ eau de toilette was similar to that of a racehorse that had completed the Melbourne Cup! After a quick shower I returned to the caravan (Caroline was pleased with my change in scent) and we were ready to make our way to Wharton Beach.
Before getting into the car, a baby bird though it would be wise to tackle our car head on. Not sure if it was learning to fly or attracted to it’s own reflection, but the bird flew in our direction with its parents – and after hitting the car, remained stunned and looking a little worse for wear. Caroline gave me a look like ‘I think it is dead Lach, can you take care of it’, but before I could assess the situation, she had swooped up Ava’s hoodie and picked up the bird. I, like the bird was stunned. My wife who jumps at the smallest of insects (along with other animals) had picked up this little bird. The girls assisted Caroline, getting bread for it to eat and some milk (clearly baby birds drink milk). Caroline then asked Ava and Audrey whether they wanted to nurse the little bird. A second surprise for the morning, Ava said she wanted to hold the bird – or ‘Birdy’ as the little bird was now named! Caroline and Ava took Birdie for a walk and after ten minutes, Birdy was up and flying. I was surprised! I thought the bird was on its last wings – ‘circle of life’ and all that. Caroline and Ava both surprised me today. Not only did they both hold Birdy, the bird exited it’s state of unresponsive stupor and returned to its parents. The first Christmas miracle for the day!
Wharton Beach really is quite stunning. Caroline was at the wheel today and made her way through the patch of soft sand at the beaches entrance, before making her way onto the harder stuff. She turned the car around to face the water and we took out all the necessary equipment for our beach rendez-vous. So much easier driving the car onto the sand than lugging all that equipment to the beach! It would have made those summer holidays when I was younger at Broadbeach (QLD) so much simpler if we could just drive on the beach. Mum and dad, not sure whether the VW Caravelle would have made it on the beach though!
After setting up the sun shade and making sure the girls were ok, I headed over to the rocky area of the beach for a spot of fishing. I spotted an area that I thought ‘if I was a fish, that is where I would be’. Today I was using squid. Figured, less bloody and ‘fishy smelling’ than the pilchards I have been using. The pilchards also seem to disintegrate on the hook when they thaw out – squid are ‘heartier’. They were going to be my lucky charm!
First cast for the day and moments later I had my first fish. A small Taylor. Not big enough to keep, so I let it go. Feeling confident with the squid I had put on the hooks, I recast again. Bang, another bight. This time more substantial than the first! I pulled in the line and was pleasantly surprised by a lovely looking Sweep. When coming back to the caravan park later in the day I heard that Sweep is actually quite a good eating fish. Such a pity I let it go as Caroline thought it was a Taylor and undersized.
More fish seemed keen to attach themselves to my hook. I willingly jerked the rod upwards to drive the hook in and bought to the shoreline a Rock Cod (which I returned to ‘it’s home’), and another Sweep – this time a fair bit larger than before. Still unsure of the fish species (and whether it was of legal size), I took out it’s hook and let it swim away. Now before I receive any criticism on my fishing endeavours, I want you to know how hard it is to ‘identify’ a fish species and determine whether it is legal or not, while you have a fish spluttering around on your line. That coupled with my standard ‘girlish’ reaction (a slight flap of the hands whilst emitting a squeal) when trying to remove a hook from a fish and you may appreciate the degree of complexity! Nether less I had a fantastic time throwing out a line, whilst the girls had some fun times on the beach.
I returned after around an hour of fantastic fishing frivolity and took Ava and Audrey into the water, whilst Caroline enjoyed herself waist deep in the water! Another Christmas miracle – Caroline is in the water and the water was a little cold! We all made the most of the sunshine and cool water. The girls loved me swinging their bodies around me, whilst I held tightly onto their arms. They cried “One more time Daddy. One more time, please, please please”. Despite feeling dizzy from spinning like a spinning top, I continued spinning the girls around in the water until I couldn’t bear the effect spinning had on me! The girls had a brilliant time at the beach, as did Caroline and I!
We made it back to camp in the knick of time. Dark clouds were making their way across the horizon as Caroline put her foot on the accelerator to once again overcome the soft sand. Despite the car fishtailing slightly, Caroline remained confident and we made our trek home before the temperature dramatically dropped. It started to rain.
The rain pretty much finished before it began. We ate our lunch, the girls had some much needed sleep while Caroline and I relaxed outside the van. Our afternoon was to be spent at leisure. The plan was for me to take the girls for ‘a secret mission’ while Caroline performed yet another Christmas miracle!
I took the girls to the local Pub/Corner Store in Condingup to replenish our stock of baked beans and canned tuna. I was given strict instructions – ‘try to keep the girls entertained for an hour’. Twenty minutes had passed and the return drive would only take ten minutes. I thought to myself an ice cream may buy us some time. That coupled with FaceTime calls to Jamps and Nanna and Grandpa and we returned just after the allotted time to Christmas miracle number three! Caroline had decorated the inside of the caravan!!
There were presents wrapped in every ‘Christmas’ colour. Varied shapes and sizes. Caroline had made looped paper streamers and hung them from within the caravan. We exited the car to the sound of Christmas songs. “It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!”
Audrey has been extremely helpful today, volunteering to dry up after breakfast, lunch and dinner today. We have just finished a lovely meal of steak, jacket potatoes and corn, with a couscous salad, accompanied with a bottle of 2014 Singlefile Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Denmark, WA. This evening we shall continue to enjoy some Port from Sunnyhurst Vineyard whilst devouring cheese. So happy we exercised this morning!
Listening to ‘White Christmas’ whilst writing the blog, we realised that while we wont be having a traditional ‘white Christmas’ this year. Not that we get many of these in Australia! Upon reflection we realise it will still be a white Christmas, with the white white sands of Orleans Bay!