The Travels of Mouse, Part 7

It’s cold and it’s wet and it’s an Outrage!

But the Staff didn’t do anything about it, so I sulked a bit. It rained hard just before we left, and Mum and Dad were both complaining in the car about sitting in wet clothes. I had done the sensible thing and supervised the packing up from inside the car…. They went to get hot coffee and hot chocolate from the service station, and then we set off.

We climbed the first 800m up to Dorrigo Mountain Top, up the Waterfall way and through the rainforest. I leave you to imagine whether even more water was involved in that particular drive… Apparently (although you could have fooled me) it’s very beautiful, world heritage-listed rainforest, blah blah. Mum says there are lots of walking trails, spectacular waterfalls (that W word again), incredible views, a viewing platform and a very nice café. I automatically don’t care for it because dogs aren’t allowed there for fear of disturbing the native species… Fair enough, I suppose, but who could object to Me?

After that we headed across the Dorrigo plateau via Ebor and Guyra, onto the New England Tableland. These are areas where the recent dreadful fires have created huge swathes of devastation in national parkland. Mum pointed out that nearly every single blackened tree trunk was sprouting new green growth. I must say, it looked rather strange, as though the black trunks were wearing frilly pale green tutus all the way up, instead of the leaves being at the top, like sensible trees. Mum managed a photo of some silver gums, which have pale blue green new growth (‘glaucous’, Mum says. Show off…).

We have arrived in Glen Innes, in ‘Celtic Country’. The caravan park offers ‘fossicking’, where people mess around with sieves of gravel in tanks of freezing cold, yes, you guessed it, water, trying to find coloured quartzes and sapphires. Mum talked to a couple of them while she was walking me. Loonies, of course, but they were having fun. Mum found a pink quartz for the lady in her sieve of gravel… By the way, I don’t want to create the impression that I’m a water-funk. I like water, to drink, to paddle in, to have sprayed over me in hot weather. But it needs to be hot weather to enjoy it, and this is distinctly dismal and the water is freezing cold besides. I’m a Tropical greyhound, and I don’t do cold and wet.

We’re only here in this freezing cold (14°C/57°F) place for one night, thank goodness, and then it’s off to Uncle Jim’s for a bit more civilised Queensland warmth. Oh, and the cat… I’m looking forward to that visit, because I get my own bed in the guest room. I expect there will be a lot of Staff chatter, because they haven’t seen Uncle Jim and Aunty Shelley since Mum and Dad got married 7 years ago. Before my time….  We’re there for 2 nights, and then off again.

Oh, and while I think of it, Mum and Dad are taking me to Townsville the weekend after we get back. We’re staying in a special cabin for dogs and their owners, and on Saturday morning (21st March), we’re participating in the Greyt Greyhound Walk. This is to promote the work of GAP Queensland in rehoming retired racing greyhounds, and I am proud to be associated with the organisation and my fellow retirees. Mums and Dads and furry greyhound siblings are also welcome, as are those interested in adopting. Mum is going to ensure I look fabulous and shiny, and there will be an absolute pack of us there so I’ll be able to socialise and sniff like mad and compare notes on Staff, treats, diet, treats, grooming, treats, accommodation, treats, etc.

I’m really looking forward to it!

Mouse

The Travels of Mouse, Part 6

Well, ‘Travels’ is a bit of misnomer in this case….

We’ve stayed put for days now, mostly. A bit of a relief considering that on the move and round corners, I slide around rather in my back-seat hammock, but generally I let the Staff know when the ride is a little too rough with an, ahem, emanation. Anyway, back to the holiday. It’s awfully quiet now Aunty Chippy and Uncle Jonathan have gone back to Melbourne. Mum has done the same daft stuff as she does at home, washing dishes instead of licking them clean, and actually washing all the carefully accumulated smells and interesting stains out of things instead of letting them mature and ripen. Humans…. I dunno. I’ll have to be careful or she’ll be stealing my bedding and making that smell of detergent, or as she puts it “Nice and clean”. Pah!

There have been good food smells around the place. As well as Mum’s eternal search for the Perfect Pie, and Dad’s enthusiastic assistance, before Aunty and Uncle went off, we went over to their cabin a couple of times, and the humans had Aunty Chippy food: channa dal and puris, and salmon with potato cakes and corn fritters. Mum made peanut butter cookies to take with her for dessert. I was able to help her with that!

Mum came home with loot. She says it’s not for me as it’ll ‘upset my insides’. Personally, I’d like to test that theory for myself. And last night Mum made cauliflower fritters with besan and garam masala, sort of gobi pakoras but big, and she had an egg and aioli on hers and Dad had bacon and sriracha. I could have helped them with the bacon too, I’m sure, but Dad said no help was required…

Mum has also been to have her paws scrubbed and beautified. Apparently, this is called a ‘pedi’. Her nails are now a very unusual colour…. I wonder how I’d look with coloured nails – I have long, elegant paws with long, elegant nails, some black, some white. What do you think about emerald green, to match my collar and lead? Or would that look girly? Do let me know. I know I can’t trust Mum’s opinion, I mean, just look at her feet!

Anyway, today we went to Coffs Harbour, to get some insect repellant for me at Pet Barn, and the man behind the counter gave me a treat! And then Dad had to get something for the car, and also bought two fly veils – we’re going west soon, he says, and Uncle Jim says the flies are really bad. They’re things you put on your hat to stop the flies landing on your face. Why the humans don’t grow fur over the whole thing mystifies me, and they don’t seem to have the trick of snapping at flies, they just wave their paws. Mum bought groceries and also two human treats. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t care for strawberry tarts, but I made sure I got plenty of strokies instead.

We also went up to Seeley’s Lookout in the North Orara State Forest, and out onto the Forest Sky Pier. Mum thought the height might make me nervous, but it was too interesting with all the rainforest smells, and I wasn’t bothered.

Tonight we’re going to Bellingen, to the Federal Hotel for dinner with Aunty Jane and Uncle Muzza and Aunty Tracey and Uncle Johnno. Sadly, they do not have an enlightened policy with regard to greyhounds, so I shall be staying in the car, in my blankie nest, with the windows open and being brought treats regularly. Mum will feed me before we go, so I suppose the hardship will not be too unendurable, but I do think it’s a bit rich that the Staff get to go off and have fun without Me. There had better be a doggie bag…

The Staff have been muttering stuff about ‘packing up’, and I believe we will be moving on Monday to a temporary stop in Glen Innes before spending two days and nights with Uncle Jim and Aunty Shelley in St George. Hence the anti-fly measures. Moving will no doubt be as disruptive as ever, but so long as they don’t disturb My bed, I will suffer it with my usual saintly patience in the face of the Staff’s bumbling about. It will be nice to take a new route home and have new smells and sounds and sights to discover.

I believe Uncle Jim has a cat. That should be interesting….

The Travels of Mouse, Part 5

We went to see my mate Diesel Dog!

Diesel Dog

Yesterday, Mum and Dad and Aunty Chippy and Uncle Jonathan and I all went over to Diesel’s. The humans talked and drank tea and coffee and ate cake, and Diesel and I explored his back yard, had good sniffs and then went for snoozes. The Dads went up the back yard to Uncle Wayne’s shed and talked about man stuff, and the Mums sat in the shade on the patio and talked about lady stuff, including Blogs, whatever they are (This is a blog, Mouse – Mum). I’m sure they should be talking about Dogs, not Blogs…. The Aunties are now ‘friending on FaceBook’ and ‘following on Instagram’ (more human noises, I dunno….).

Uncle Jonathan is taking the photo…

Then they had lunch. I didn’t have any, of course, but this is what I could smell: home made focaccia, butter, buffalo chorizo, three kinds of cheese, samosas, tamarind relish, mint relish, mushroom-stuffed red peppers, zucchini pickle with onion and mustard seed, rocket pesto, Japanese mayo with preserved lemon, honey, grapes, walnuts, pineapple cake and mascarpone.

I still prefer Diesel’s mat to my own comfy quilt…

They took photos, too. Aunty Dale showed the house and the back yard and the vegetable cage and her stained glass potting shed. Diesel got them to throw his toy so he could catch or retrieve it. I just lay about looking decorative. Aunty Dale had bought me a present! Dried duck liver treats!  Sadly, I wasn’t allowed to help myself, so most of them are still sitting in their bag on top of the wardrobe, out of my reach…. She gave Mum a kilo bucket of honey and a jar of tomato and chilli chutney, which Dad will steal for himself once he discovers it… Mum gave her the Woolly Thing and the teapot picture she made. I still think my present was best…

Aunty Dale has bought Diesel some really smart clothes! He has overalls, and a denim jacket, and a puffa jacket, and a Hawaiian shirt with pineapples on it… Mum told me not to get excited, it wasn’t going to happen, although she is still going to make me a hi-vis sweater for winter walks when it’s dark. It will be fluoro yellow fleece and have stripes of orange and reflective tape down the side, to make sure I can be seen. Sounds very nice, but I still have overall envy – they were dark blue denim and had a pocket on the bib on his back, and a hole for his tail… Aunty Dale says he loves them, and always gets very excited when it’s time to put them on.

Then we came home via the Lookout so Mum and Aunty could take photos. There were lots of black clouds on the way, and Mum had to cancel the dinner booking because the dog-friendly table is outside and we couldn’t all sit there in a downpour. But it was OK, because Aunty Chippy arranged takeaway, and we were warm and cosy and the Staff had curry and I had proper food. Mum said it was a record day – despite wearing a bright pink linen shirt all day, and eating lots of drippy things, she hadn’t spilled on herself once! I thought it was a good day too. Playtime with Diesel, a back yard to roam around in, lots of good things to sniff, and everyone said what a good dog I am.

Today, Mum and Aunty are going to sew and eat Mum’s banana cup-cakes. None for me, of course (I am apparently a Very Bad Boy where banana cup-cakes are concerned). I don’t know what they mean, I am only an innocent, much-maligned doggo who has never, ever stolen banana cup-cakes… And of course, I am a Lovely Boy and a Good Doggo (most of the time, we won’t mention cup-cakes, will we?). Mum says it’s for my own good, so I maintain my figure.

It’s raining again, so I shall stay with Dad while he reads, and supervise… with my eyes closed.

The Travels of Mouse, Part 4

Dad says he should be writing this, but I disagree.

After all, any expedition that has me in it, should be All About Me. But I digress. Sunday was the day the Staff had chosen for our motorbike club RTE (Ride to Eat) visit to the beautiful town of South West Rocks. The other attending members of the motorbike club had turned up on Saturday night, and curry was consumed by all Except Me. It smelt pretty good, but I think Mum was probably right when she said it wouldn’t agree with my insides… Aunty Chippy is a wizard in the kitchen, but I’m not allowed any of her cooking. It’s an outrage. But I did receive some treats and lots of admiration, strokies, compliments and general appreciation, so that’s OK.

On Sunday morning after my walkies, we all piled into cars and onto bikes and hit the road. Actually, I fancy myself in a sidecar, wearing a leather helmet and doggles, but Dad says it’ll never happen. Shame…

We took the scenic route down to South West Rocks, to the café I mentioned before, which welcomes dogs and allows humans. There were 4 other dogs there, and sniffs were exchanged, but none of the others had their own quilt and bowl. Poor things. I got lots of petting and strokies and Mum had to answer lots of questions about me.

The humans all sat around eating brunch (again, NO BACON FOR ME), then Mum took me for a short walk, people took photos of themselves and the motorbikes and the flag, etc, and then we went home. I had a long sleep from all that zorsting admiration I got in the café, some of the humans went swimming in the lagoon and the swimming pool, and then they had more curry and I snoozed in the caravan air conditioning.

But I’ve forgotten to tell you about Saturday morning and the car boot sale!  My mate Diesel was there with Aunty Dale and Uncle Wayne! We had a great sniff’n’tell for about 10 minutes, and then the Staffs split up to go shopping, so I didn’t see him again, which was a pity (but I’ll see him again soon, more on that later).  Mum says to tell you she scored big time, whatever that means.

She brought home a great big plate thing ($2), which she’d been wanting for ages, and she found another sewing box (how many does she need?), which she got for $60. She said she’d only seen them on eBay, going for $120. It smelled very old… When she opened it up, there were lots of “vintage wooden reels of cotton”, whatever that means… Well, it certainly made her happy, so it must be a good thing.

And Dad bought himself a book and a new leather belt, and got me to try on a collar, but it was a bit hard and wasn’t a martingale collar, so I don’t think I’d have liked it, and it was only boring brown. I like my accessories to be colourful. And then the humans drank tea and ate cake, and of course, none for me. Again.

Anyway, it’s been a busy couple of days… Uncle Jonathan is going to go fishing this morning, Dad is going to keep me company and read, and Mum and Aunty Chippy are Going Shopping. Sounds ghastly. I’ll catch up on my snoozing and score some belly tickles. Mum has to bake a cake this afternoon to take to Aunty Dale’s tomorrow, and I expect that’ll be a busy day, as Diesel and I will run around Aunty Dale’s back yard and I will steal his bone and his mat again (or maybe Mum will remember my quilt this time).

Well, I must get on. Beauty sleep to catch up on, snacks to cadge, belly tickles to score. It’s a busy life… 

Mouse

The Travels of Mouse, Part 3

I’m really very busy, but have found a few minutes to let you know what we’re up to.

The Staff have set Miz Lizzie the caravan up very nicely and have finally put up my privacy enclosure to keep the uninvited out.  Behold Le Salon de Mouse, where I receive visitors, have long interesting talks with Mum about food and walkies and what she and Dad laughingly call ‘their’ plans for the next day. It makes a nice change from inside, where Dad grumbles that I’m in his way; surely he realises that everything is mine and he is only there to serve Me? You really can’t get the Staff these days, but I shall have to struggle on with what I have…

Yesterday we went up the mountain to Dorrigo to visit Mum’s sister and her husband. They have a very nice house which I gave a thorough sniffing, but the back yard is best – they have chickens! I did not chase them, I’m far too well behaved for that, but I did follow them about a little bit, and I inspected their enclosure to ensure there was no unauthorised rodent activity. I also checked the boundaries, had some nice zoomies around the grass and then lay on my quilt in the sun next to the woodpile. They have this cunning winch arrangement for getting the wood upstairs to the house, and it would have been fun to ride up in the wood box, but no-one paid any attention to my suggestion.

I have been ensuring the Staff get plenty of exercise; with enormous self-sacrifice, I am taking them for walkies several times a day when clearly I’d prefer to snooze in the sun, but I need to ensure that they stay fit and healthy. Today we are doing something different; we are going into Coffs Harbour and hope to meet up with Aunty Dale and Uncle Wayne and Diesel Dog for coffee (and possibly a sneaky puppacino), if they have time. Tomorrow, I believe we’re going to something called a Car Boot Sale, which is strangely not somewhere that you buy car boots, but where you buy unwanted stuff that people have brought in their car boots (trunks for my US readers). It sounds as if there will be lots of sniffing opportunities, and perhaps some other dogs to say hello to, as it’s being held at Macksville Showgrounds, a 20 minute drive away.

Mum and Dad are in a high state of excitement because this weekend sees a big social event. First, on Saturday afternoon and evening a number of friends are arriving. Firstly, Aunty Chippy and Uncle Jonathan, all the way from Melbourne, then 4 or 5 others who belong to the same motorbike club as Mum and Dad, and who will be staying here at the White Albatross too. I expect there’ll be a potluck dinner of some sort on Saturday evening (better keep a sharp lookout for snacking opportunities), and then on Sunday morning we’ll head off in cars and on bikes down to South West Rocks. It’s a nice drive we reconnoitred the other day. The plan is to hold an RTE (ride to eat) at a café called Malt & Honey, which welcomes dogs and allows humans too. Mum says the Eggs Benedict looks lavish, and she’s already chosen what she’s going to eat! I expect there will be lots of talking. I shall snooze until I feel the humans need to take some exercise…

Well, all this writing is zorsting and I must catch up on my beauty sleep. I’ll write you some more after the RTE, I expect there will be plenty of photos.

Toodles for now.

Mouse

 

The Travels of Mouse, Part 2

Hello, fans and admirers, Mouse here again.

Well, we’re about to spend our third night away from home. Night one was Tannum Sands, and night two was Landsborough Pines, both of which Mum has wittered on about previously, so I’ll pass swiftly over those two, but they were pleasant and I do enjoy a good sniff around the bushland at Tannum.

I must say, the Staff have made a nice job of my accommodations on board Miz Lizzie. They have added a pillow to my bed, and I now have the drawer underneath devoted to my Important Stuff (walkies bag, snacks, water bottle, bandannas and other fashion accessories), and the hooks beside it for my leads and harness. After all the packing and unpacking that goes on each night, I find myself fatigued and needing to take a nice long siesta before the Staff serve my evening meal.

Mum’s search for the perfect pie continues – I know she’s shared previous reviews from previous trips – but I must say I was a tiny bit outraged that I wasn’t asked to test one and contributed my opinion. I am, after all, the carnivore in this family!  Still, here is Mum’s already slightly mangled and gnawed steak & kidney pie from Beefy’s. The next one, from the Landsborough Bakery, didn’t even make it as far as a photo (she said she was hungry… I know the feeling!). Overall, Beefy’s has the best meaty chunks and generous size, but the Landsborough Bakery had better pastry that didn’t spray all over the place so it was less messy to eat. Personally, I wouldn’t care about the mess, that’s what I have Staff for.

Today we went through a huge rain storm as we passed Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It got so heavy that Dad had trouble seeing vehicles and the road ahead, and I was rather concerned that we’d have this for the rest of the holiday. Mum checked the Bureau of Meteorology site and it seems to be OK, which is good, because I get a bit tired of having my paws dried…

On the way, we stopped for afternoon tea at Our Daily Bread, a converted old wooden church which is now a lovely café and gift/ antique shop. I ordered a warm lactose-free puppacino and the Staff had tea and muffins with locally grown blueberries and white chocolate on top.

Mum looked around inside and was tempted by the hand-made hats, as she’s left her sun-hat at home. Sadly they were all too small, so I predict hat shopping will be taking place once we get to Nambucca Heads – among other things, of course!

We’re here in Yamba for one night (I heard Mum say it was just as well, the bathroom is a bit desperate), and then we’re off to see my friends at the White Albatross in Nambucca heads, and Mum and Dad will wait for Aunty Chippy and Uncle Jonathan to arrive on Saturday. I think there are other things on the agenda, but I have been very busy supervising and will be too zorsted to hear about it till I’ve had a huge snooze in my new private veranda under the awning. I’ll show you that next time.

More soon,

Mouse

The Travels of Mouse, Part 1

G’day people, Mouse here.

I’m writing this post because quite clearly Mum isn’t going to. She is carrying heaps of useless stuff into the caravan, while my Important Things are being ignored. I don’t know whether to be annoyed or alarmed that my walkies bag, harness, lead, bed towel and bowls are still lying around. Mum is being especially nice to me, and gave me milk and some very nice roast pork left over from her lunch roll because she thinks I’m stressed. They were very acceptable, but I’m cross that no-one has explained what is Going On. Also, my red blankie, my Thunder Shirt and my OzDog bandanna have disappeared. I’m sure the Staff mean well, but I am the Boss round here and I should be kept informed.

Dad is noisily blowing up tyres and checking that stinky thing under the car bonnet. Mum is lugging piles of clothes and food and baskets of that sewing stuff she likes into the caravan and hiding it as if it were real bones.

Time to Investigate.

Later:

Well, they’ve finally explained to me. We are leaving tomorrow morning, right after my breakfast and walkies. We are going to spend 4 days driving down to one of my favourite holiday spots at Nambucca Heads.

Uncle Jonathan and Aunty Chippy are driving up from Melbourne to meet us and stay there too, so I can confidently expect lots of cuddles, tickles and spoiling, as I deserve. I’m sure that I can play up a bit longer and pretend to be upset and worried so that the Staff will give me more treats… And of course, now I can look forward to walks on the beach, lunch in the sunshine, visiting my mate Diesel Dog and his Staff, etc. And of course Mum, Dad, Uncle J and Aunty C will be doing a lot of sitting around and chatting and doing weird stuff with their paws while I snooze in the sun, which will be a nice change, as it’s normally just me and Mum (aka Chief of Staff & Quartermaster).

Apparently, our journey is as follows: Home – Tannum Sands – Landsborough – Yamba – Nambucca Heads. And then Nambucca Heads – Glen Innes – St George – Roma – Lake Maraboon – Home, a round trip of about 5,200km (3,200 miles). Sounds like a lot of driving for Dad (aka Logistics & Engineering), but Mum says he’s used to it. I don’t mind whatever happens. I’ll be carrying out the duties I do so well.

Sleeping in the back seat.

Miz Lizzie Adventures: all legal

That’s a weight off my mind. Literally.

Miz Lizzie is a small caravan, built on an aluminium frame, but of recent years she’s become a bit of a barge-arse* and not strictly legal. Her previous owners added all sorts of extra goodies that piled on the pounds, until she was at least 400kg (880 pounds) overweight when empty, let alone with all our stuff on board. Deep cycle battery, extra water tank, air conditioning, that sort of thing.

In Australia (and possibly elsewhere, I wouldn’t know) caravans have a compliance plate on their frames, detailing who made them and when, what they’re supposed to weigh, etc. If the Department of Transport does a spot check and pulls you over and onto a weighbridge, and you’re over your correct weight, you get fined a very considerable amount (in the thousands of dollars). Some time ago, we’d put her on a weighbridge and discovered the dreadful truth. So we put her into our favourite caravan workshop to have some upgrades. She got a heavy duty subframe and extra leaf springs in her suspension, plus wheel rims and tyres for a much heavier vehicle. She was now capable of carrying the extra weight plus anything else we cared to throw at her.

The next bit of fun was finding someone authorised to inspect and re-certify her, and issue a new compliance plate. That took a long, long time, but eventually we found someone, he did the job, we handed over a very moderate sum of money, and Miz Lizzie is now the proud owner of a shiny new blue compliance plate.

We are now safe from roving DoT inspectors and the danger of having insurance claims refused in case of accidents. Miz Lizzie rides a good bit higher than before, but her new chunky wheels are less vulnerable to rocks, potholes and gravel roads, she rides more smoothly so I’m less likely to find things all over the floor inside when we pull up, and we also have a shiny new pull-out step to help climb up into her. Mouse has no trouble getting on board, so I think we’re ready for our long trip south in late February.

It’s good to know she’s set for many more years. (Now, what about that paint job we were talking about…?)

* Defined by the Urban Dictionary as “the large, plump and rather gigantic behind a woman tries to conceal by wearing dresses”, but actually used to mean anyone built on a generous scale with perhaps a touch too much extra in the sitting department.

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….