Mouse’s holiday, part 4: this smells familiar…

Not that we’re home yet, but we’re getting there.

Our last day in Nambucca Heads was Friday, and we left on Saturday morning. We gave Mouse a final long walk on the beautiful Swimming Creek beach, which he greatly enjoyed. Just as we were turning off the beach, what should we see but another greyhound! He was a big boy called Bennett, a tan brindle, and at least 3 inches taller and a good bit older than Mouse, and had a thicker coat, probably due to living in a cooler climate. There was a lot of dancing about and sniffing and big greyhound grins. The greyhound parents exchanged notes…. and agreed that greys are the best doggos in the world.

We had planned an extra day and overnight stay in Tweed Heads; I thought it might be possible to catch up with a friend nearby, but she was involved in a big family weekend. I’d also hoped to pay a visit to Fifi’s Fabricology, a wondrous quilt fabric emporium just up the coast road in Burleigh Heads, but I’d failed to factor in the fact that we were staying in a different time zone, across the border, and it was Saturday afternoon, and the store closed at 4pm… never mind. I really, really don’t need more fabric. And there will be other times, and other trips. But next time, it’s fair to say that we will never, ever stay in that caravan park again. It’s directly under the take-off flight path from Gold Coast airport, it’s run down, the bathrooms are horrendous, and despite the claim of being dog-friendly, they don’t allow you to walk your dog around the park, you have to tie them up very short, failure to comply or allowing your dog to bark will get you thrown out, etc.

From Tweed Heads, we stopped en route in Beerwah to let his lordship out in the local dog park (which is lovely, by the way, lots of long grass and shade and water and seats). We were thrilled to see a group of really old cars draw up beside the people park next door, and unload a lavish picnic. There were two Model T Fords, a De Dion Bouton and a couple of really lovely old cabriolets which weren’t badged. All were sparkling, with perfect paintwork and highly polished brass and chrome.

Our route passed the Glasshouse Mountains, the main peaks of which are a group of three volcanic plugs set in an otherwise fairly flat landscape. One is slightly domed with a pointed top,  one is a sharply pointed cone, and one is a wonky pyramid. I only managed a shot of the first, which I think you’ll agree looks a bit strange all by itself.

Next stop was back to Landsborough Pines, and this time, we asked for the spot next to the one we had before. This time, there was no gentle rain of gumnuts onto the roof, but we did have a real life thunderstorm and rain, which the poor Mouse did not enjoy one bit, to the point where he wouldn’t eat. Gasp! Thankfully it passed over in half an hour, after which he remembered his tummy was empty. In the morning we discovered that a Purple Swamp Hen had her nest in a clump of lomandra right beside our caravan. She sat on it like a rock all through the storm and our comings and goings. You can’t really see her in the photo, but she’s that patch of darkness in the centre of the leaves. We also had a visit from friends and from the Husband’s brother and other half. We sat in the barbecue hut overlooking the duck pond, drank wine and ate cheese and crackers. It was surprisingly civilised and lots of fun 🙂

On to Tannum Sands again. This time we have a spot backing onto woodland, and a joyful doggo spent a long time revisiting all the interesting smells.  Forewarned by our previous stay, we lashed on the mozzie repellent and appear to have escaped becoming dinner for the sandflies. Another rainshower here, but no thunder or lightning, so there was no missing dinner this time.

Tomorrow is our longest leg of the journey, and the last. We’ll be home tomorrow night and can all relax. We were afraid at the start that we’d miss out on lots of things because we had Mouse with us. It hasn’t been the case. We were also afraid he wouldn’t enjoy travelling, and again, we needn’t have worried. He hops into the car without any encouragement, settles down and goes to sleep. We’re delighted to have him along as our furry companion and he’s enjoyed the adventure (but I suspect will enjoy getting home to his usual routine even more). We’ll be back this way in February/March next year, and next time, I promise to remember my camera.

Roll on, 470km home. 

Mouse’s Holiday part 2: Dolce far niente

Or, ’tis sweet to be idle.

So far, it’s been a pretty restful holiday.

We’ve sat and enjoyed the sun going down over the lagoon, along with many others who bring chairs and an early evening drink along to take what pleasure they can from the spectacular colour that distant bushfire smoke lends to the sunset.

The dog beach has been wildly popular – with me as much as with Mouse. I do love to watch all the happy doggos madly dashing about and playing with the brisk surf you get on this coast.

I also like the mini spa treatment for my feet; all the rough skin polished off by the silica-rich sand, the massage of the salty water reducing swollen ankles and cooling hot feet, all that ozone-dense air…

The V-Wall walk is an enduring pleasure. It runs between the lagoon and the sea. The water is deep teal shading to bright turquoise as it runs over a sandbank and past a small bird-inhabited island. I can’t tell you why it’s called the V-Wall, but you can see from the photo that the rocks from which it’s constructed are the site of numerous decorations, memorials, paintings and “I was here” daubs. These are permitted and even encouraged, so long as you don’t deface anyone else’s work.  It makes a colourful effect and an interesting read; there are contributions from locals and distant travellers alike.

Mouse is having a great holiday. He gets his first run of the morning just before his 6am breakfast, another longer walk mid morning and several shorter walks throughout the day. We are planning a folding wire dog enclosure for under the caravan awning so he can sit outside with us without needing to be tied up – he’s so fast that if he took off after a doggy friend we’d never catch him, so his 8ft lead is vital. But it would be much nicer if he could move around freely. Having said that, he spends a lot of quality time on his bed in the caravan “tolly zorsted”.

We visited my sister and BIL in Dorrigo the other day; I haven’t been down this way for well over a year and it was past time. I absolutely love the road inland from the coastal highway, and the point at which I can start to see my dearly missed mountains is always a favourite. Up there is my chiefest happy place… And of course, family and friends I don’t get to see often.

And then home again to Miz Lizzie. We debated having dinner at the V-Wall Tavern, just outside the gates of the caravan park, and overlooking the bay. Its outdoor seating area is dog-friendly and the menu is very tasty.

But then Mouse made it clear he wanted his dinner first, and we realised the setting sun would be in our eyes. Perhaps lunch today, instead?

We had a lazy day yesterday. By which I mean I cleaned up the caravan, did the laundry, made meals, etc, but I also sat outside for several hours and stitched hexies for my ScrapHappy piece, and finished one book and started another. Another day like that today, I think, and then on Thursday we have a social day, seeing friends in both morning and evening.

It’s good to slow down and take it easy sometimes….

Mouse’s Holiday, part 1: 1400km on the road

Hello!  Still here, still reading your blogs, just busy travelling…

This is the first big trip we’ve taken with Mouse. The first one was a shake-down, and highlighted some of the issues, but a longer trip is a whole other story. Not quite like having a toddler along, but there are similarities. Regular meals and bathroom breaks, can’t be left alone, especially in cars on hot days…. But it’s a joy watching his incredulous delight at the dog beach, with all those other doggos playing, swimming, fetching and sniffing. And even more delight at the 3 acre fenced off-leash dog park, where he was allowed off the lead and to do zoomies, which he’s missed. He hasn’t quite got the idea of coming when called yet, but I can now see I have to give some serious priority to it when we get home; 3 acres is a large area to have to pursue him in should he decide to play Catch Me.

So, the trip. It didn’t start well; our car is nearly as old as the caravan, and it chose packing day to give up on the air conditioning, without which one doesn’t undertake a journey of any distance in Queensland. Net result was the Husband spending 6 hours in town getting it sorted, while I tried to pack as much as I could. Normally, I make a list, we split the task and the job is done smoothly and efficiently. This time, we forgot a few things…. Like the cordless drill which winds down the caravan stabiliser legs much faster than the old hand crank. And my camera. And a second pair of pyjamas. And the guy ropes for the awning. Never mind, we have work-rounds for everything, and it’s good to test our ingenuity! Miz Lizzie has had her undercarriage and suspension rebuilt since you last saw a photo of her, and now rides a good deal higher on larger wheels, which makes her stronger, stops things bouncing around inside and saves wear and tear on her frame.

Mouse was a model passenger. The back seat is wide enough that he could stretch out full length, and he took full advantage. We stopped every couple of hours to let everyone walk about a bit and get the blood circulating again, which meant the journeys took a little longer than usual, but we arrived in better shape as a result.

First stop was Tannum Sands, a pretty beachside suburb just south of Gladstone. The caravan park is just lovely: spacious, in beautiful surroundings directly opposite the beach, well landscaped and cared for. Just one tiny downside: the bitey insect life at night. Mosquitos and sandflies. During the day, not so much, but venture outside at night and the little devils are feasting on you in short order. We’ll be staying there on our return journey as well, so I have dug the tropical strength insect repellent out of the first aid kit to make walking Mouse less of a blood-letting exercise. He loved it there; foxes in the woods behind and possums up the trees made for excellent smellyvision for him.

The second night was at Landsborough Pines, a caravan park 3km from Australia Zoo of Steve Irwin (“Crikey, crocodiles!”) fame. It’s small, and really lovely. Many of the cabins are permanent residences, a few are holiday accommodation, and there’s a separate section for caravans and tents. Between the two is a really gorgeous duck pond/mini lake, complete with ducks, geese, wildfowl, turtles and fish. The water is aerated daily with large jets which make a lovely sound and look spectacular. The amenities were rather up-market for a caravan park, there was a very posh barbecue pavilion overlooking the duck pond, and the only downsides were that one tree housed a colony of rather smelly and noise fruit bats, and we were situated under a gum tree that dropped gum nuts on the roof all night. Once we’d worked out what the noise was, it stopped waking us up!

Day 3 was the longest leg of the trip. We also crossed south into New South Wales, which meant a change of time zone, an hour ahead. It made for a long and tiring day, but our destination was worth it. The White Albatross holiday park at Nambucca Heads is arranged in a crescent around a sea-fed lagoon behind a rock wall breakwater. On the other side is the ocean, and at night you can hear the surf, but you are protected from bad weather. Once again, there’s a mix of permanent and holiday accommodation and sites for tents and caravans. The place is immaculate, beautifully landscaped, well managed and incredibly clean and tidy. The sites are all flat, making set-up easy, and we have an en suite bathroom block for our exclusive use with brand new fixtures and fittings. Mouse is delighted with our stay here, as just around the headland is the dog beach, filled with new furry friends and their parents. If we weren’t fairly sure he’d disappear into the dim blue distance in short order, we’d let him off the lead, but we have at least switched to the 8 metre lead for walks here. The sand is pale vanilla-coloured and very high in silica, so it squeaks underfoot with every step. There’s surf here, as it’s not protected by a reef, which is a novel experience for Mouse, and there are quite a few dogs who have learned to coast in to shore on a wave.

We’re staying here for a week, heading north again on 26th. Tomorrow I’ll tell about the things we’ve done over the past couple of days

The News from Mouseland

Good morning, my adoring fans, Mouse here.

There’s something rather strange going on around here this morning. The parents have spent very little time on my customary early morning dog-worship session on the bed, and I’m feeling a distinct lack of strokies and tummy tickles. Instead, they are putting things into bags I have not inspected, and are piling them up beside the front door. Dad had sausages for breakfast instead of toast and I was not allowed to do a quality-check. Mum wanted to play with her laptop instead of fussing with my ears so I showed her who was boss by drooling on it. Lapdogs before laptops, I say, although I’m definitely not a lap-sitting dog. Mum says I’m the Chris Hemsworth of the dog world. Tall, elegant, athletic (all good so far), and not annoyingly brainy-looking (I’m paraphrasing here, what she actually said was “not over-endowed with brains”).

I digress. I’m good at that… They have Miz Lizzie drawn up beside the front door, and while I have not inspected the inside, I could smell that my bed was ready and waiting. We’re off on another trip! I hope we’re going somewhere good, with either a nice dog park or a beach I can run on and smell things and paddle just a little bit (I don’t really like wet paws). Mum’s put together a big bag of my stuff, and I made sure there were treats in there too (“Get your nose out of there, Mouse”). Normally I don’t like it when things change, but if I’m going in the car with Mum and Dad, and Miz Lizzie has my bed, we’ll all be together and I know what to expect.

I wonder where we’re going. (“Watch this space, Mouse. All will be revealed”) 🐾

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Boyne River and Miriam Vale

This is going to work.

By which I mean bringing doggo along on Adventures in Miz Lizzie. Friday was a day of high stress for all of us, but Saturday went like a dream. He’s getting used to living in the caravan and back of the car, and we’re getting used to the need for one of us to be with him at all times. It takes a bit more planning, but it’s not hard.

Anyway, back to the story. We’re staying at the Boyne River Tourist Park. I’m not giving it a recommendation, because to be honest it’s a bit tired and run-down. However, it’s cheap, and perfectly placed for today’s meet up. Plus, and this is a big plus, the view is brilliant. Our site was at the top of a steep grassed bank which led down to the river bank. The Boyne is tidal, so the water level changed at different times of day. It was quiet, the scene was tranquil and apart from distant traffic sounds all you could hear was the lap of water and birdsong.

Into the car at a civilised hour on Saturday morning after a few domestic chores, and his lordship promptly went to sleep in his back seat hammock. Down the road an hour, Miriam Vale is a pretty little town which on this particular day was full of people on motorbikes, either out in the sunshine for a ride, or recent participants in the Far Ride which terminated nearby. It turns out that our friends Peter and Marion actually lived and met here many moons ago, so it had fond memories for them. In any case, it was a fun get-together in the courtyard of the Miriam Vale Café, where dogs are cherished customers and there’s a stack of water bowls waiting for them. Mouse was wearing the bespoke OzSTOC club bandanna I’d made for him, and you can see how well colour co-ordinated he is! Unfortunately, Peter was wearing his famous ‘hair’ hat, perhaps to compensate for the solar panel he wears underneath!

When we’d waved goodbye to the two of them, we were thrilled to see another familiar face (or perhaps that should be familiar motorbike – he was wearing his crash helmet) at the side of the road. Bill (aka Biggles) had been participating in the Far Ride and had just pulled over to let his missus know all was well.

Back at base, Mouse insisted on a nice long walk along the riverbank before settling down to some serious snoozing. I must admit, I wasn’t averse to a tiny toes-up either, I’d had a rather poor night due to a painful back, despite the comfiness of the bed. Still, it was steak for dinner and an early night so we could leave in good order in the morning and be home mid afternoon.

It’s been a good learning experience for all three of us. Lesson 1) do not tie Mouse up to anything. If he gets spooked, he’s very strong and will break out of harness, lead and collar and disappear into the distance, causing heart attacks all round. Leave him in the car if you can’t hang onto him. Lesson 2) Take no nonsense from him about the caravan steps or height of the car seat being too high for him. If he does it, give him lots of praise and a treat. If he won’t and has to be manhandled, no praise and no treat. Lesson 3) The caravan door is not opened unless he’s wearing harness and lead and/or someone has hold of him. Lesson 4) The caravan steps are the perfect height for his food dishes. Lesson 5) Make sure he drinks throughout the day, not just when he gets home, or you’ll be up and down all night taking him out for a pee. Lesson 6) Do NOT allow him on your bunk. It’s the thin end of the wedge, he will take over, you’ll have nowhere to sleep, and he has a perfectly good one of his own. Lesson 7) All edibles locked away.

So now we can look forward to October’s much longer trip with a degree of optimism. Mouse is a gentle, (mostly) calm and pretty accommodating dog. Given enough food, water and comfy places to sleep he’ll do fine. Just no nasty noisy surprises, please.

Oh, and keep those treats coming…

After-note: Mouse would like to tell the Husband “Happy Father’s Day, dad”…

 

Miz Lizzie Adventures: before we go

We’re off!

Just a short trip, but it’ll tell us whether Mouse enjoys the road trip/caravan experience. We’re hoping, of course, that he’ll love it as much as we do, and make lots of new doggy friends along the way.

One thing Miz Lizzie wasn’t equipped with was a large dog bed. Mouse is not a small person, and when he sleeps, it’s usually with all four legs sprawled out. We weren’t about to make him sleep outside so sleeping accommodation had to be arranged. Between us, the Husband and I have come up with a Cunning Plan. The banquette seat opposite the Husband’s bunk is used once a day, tops, and often not at all. We’ve removed the fixed table, which was large, cumbersome and heavy, and have replaced it with a folding table which goes down flat most of the time.

So we’ve run a board across from under the cushions of the banquette to a ledge the Husband installed along the side of his bunk platform. It has stops to prevent it sliding about. On top, we have the option of using the seat cushions as a doggy mattress, or better still, a section of the old bunk mattresses we’ve replaced, with the backrest cushions at either end.

We lured Mouse into Miz Lizzie (less difficult than the first time), made sure we were both occupying the bunks to remove that option, and then encouraged him to jump onto this new doggy bed, now made comfy and familiar with his floor quilt and fleece blankie.  Once up, he did his usual spin in place, lay down and proceeded to snooze. Job done. Of course, being right beside him, it now falls to the Husband to provide the constant petting that will be demanded. If he neglects his strokies duty, he’ll get poked by a cold, wet, pointy nose. My bunk, on the other hand, is too far away for Nose Attack. Mwahahaha!

The trip ought to be a well-worn routine by now, but I can’t help feeling it’s going to be a totally new experience, thanks to our shiny black friend in the back seat.

Wish us luck!

BougieNights #6: One more to go

I haven’t made quite the progress I hoped for.

Other things demanded attention, including my foray into Mousewear and various domestic issues. But I’ve managed to reach the point where I have only the final long seam to go.

On our morning walk today, Mouse and I passed this bougainvillea on a wire fence, and the colour reminded me why this quilt is called Bougainville Nights. It doesn’t communicate properly just how brilliantly orange and pink the flowers are, but you get some idea. All it needs is a brilliant north Queensland sunset and a deepening dark blue sky to bring my original colour inspiration to mind.

Speaking of Mouse, he’ll be joining us for his first caravan trip this coming weekend. We’re catching up with some friends from OzSTOC, our motorbike touring club, down in Miriam Vale, 500km south of here. We’ve found a dog-friendly caravan park on the banks of the Boyne River in Benaraby where we’ll spend two nights, and we’ll be packing Mouse’s club colours bandanna as well as our own club shirts 🙂 For the purpose of this trip, he’s our official OzDog.  I don’t think we’ll be able to train him to hold one end of the flag, but you never know.

It’ll be interesting to see how he takes to this style of travel and accommodation. One thing’s for certain: we’ll have to watch our step in the caravan at night given his lordship’s ‘legs everywhere’ space-hogging style of sleeping.

I think there’s probably one more BougieNights post to go: the completed, bound quilt, and a view of the ‘alternate quilt’ on the back. Meanwhile, I have to go and make up the caravan bunks, turn on the fridge and check the supplies.

I’ll let you know how it goes…