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….

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: 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…

Miz Lizzie Adventures: Lovely Lavish Loot!

As promised, then, here are the acquisitions of the past two days.

Firstly, the chocolate. I think we’ve been quite modest, really, when you consider that two of those packages are for the kind neighbours who are keeping an eye on the house and taking in our mail.

From top left to bottom right, we have milk chocolate coated coffee beans, latte flavoured milk chocolate, dark chocolate gingers, more milk chocolate coated coffee beans, dark chocolate cranberry & pistacho bar, milk chocolate salted caramel bar, and milk chocolate cranberry & pistachio bar.

Here is a current portrait of Miz Lizzie.

And here is her Mini-Me, a totally gorgeous clock with extremely funky hands and a swinging pendulum. It now hangs on the locker door above the sink, and ticks very quietly, not loud enough to be annoying while we’re trying to sleep. We saw it in the Coffee Works gift shop, where (despite the fairly substantial price ticket) buying it was a no-brainer. It’s made by a US company called Allen Designs, and they make a fair range of clock designs, something to suit everyone, I’d say.

To the point, in fact, that the Husband has ordered me a second one.

Well, no prizes for guessing where it’ll hang when it arrives. (They’re not paying me anything for this link, I’m telling you about them because you’ve got to share a good thing. Go ahead and browse. I’ll be here when you get back in an hour or two…)

And finally, I got my toes titivated. The previous pedi was getting a bit weatherbeaten, and I like to do the Husband credit when we’re prancing eagerly into a shop to Buy Stuff. I don’t normally indulge, and my toenails are habitually bare, but in holiday season you have to make a bit of an effort, don’t you?

I’ve told the Husband that in return for the clock loveliness, a holiday present for him is called for.

He initially pretended he wanted for nothing, but his eyes lit up like anything when, working on information previously received as they say in the detective stories, I suggested a rattle-gun (aka a cordless torque wrench) might be acceptable.

So there’ll be a trip to the DIY store soon. That’s a promise.

Miz Lizzie Adventures: restraint, and a lack of it.

I can resist anything except temptation…

Well, that’s what Oscar Wilde said, anyway. I can resist some temptations, especially when I know the Husband is tapping his foot outside the fabric shop. So this time, I only bought one piece of fabric (she said with an air of spurious virtue). The shop is a treasure trove of not just fabrics, but flosses, fixings, findings, fleece, and everything the avid crocheter or knitter could wish for. Oh, and paints, dyes, stains, crayons, pencils, papers, canvases. So you see, buying only one piece of fabric from the sale bin really was quite restrained.

I made up for it once outside, though.

A luscious caramel chocolate slice from the Vietnamese bakery. Not a pastry base, but made of compressed fresh coconut shreds. I don’t pretend it made this delectable treat more virtuous, but it did make it slightly less heavy and filling. Slightly…

We didn’t do much yesterday; some laundry, some grocery shopping, a little reading (Husband) and sewing (me). This is, after all, a holiday. Today, we’re going up to the Tableland to visit Coffee Works and pay homage to the chocolatiers by carting away as much chocolate as we can without people pointing and whispering. We’ll probably also buy some cheeses at Gallo’s Dairyland. The weather’s looking a bit overcast, so I don’t know if I’ll get many landscapey-type photos. Depending on time and weather, I may visit some of my favourite waterfalls, too.

After all, I have to pretend the day’s trip isn’t totally about food….