keep on chooglin'

Getting over the bump which is 'festivus season' is always a challenge for someone with my social skills, particularly if I desire to come out the other side unscathed and relatively sane. This year I decided to breathe slowly and not make an arse of myself or piss off too many people. I'm rather optimistic about my success, no nasty emails or phone messages as yet. Due to some recent cosmic alignment I've somehow managed to do things I normally don't do over this time of year. It all began one warm summer night, Christmas Eve in fact. The wine was chilled and so was the atmosphere, I remember thinking to myself could this eve be any more relaxed, apparently it was to be, into a deep slumber I entered at a rather early hour. In the morning we enjoyed the joy and magic on the girls faces, that feeling of pure joy is something probably only a parent can truly appreciate. It's such a treasure to see such joy when the reality of life is rather well...shit. Smiles, laughter and joy ensued as per our cunning plan and among the rubble of discarded wrapping paper, instructions and warranties were two happy little kids primed with sugar and ready for a big day.

I was slightly anxious on the highway to Melbourne, it had been a while since the family had all been together in the one room, and it had been an 'interesting' year. But it all seemed to go smoothly.....smoothly enough. Christmas 2010 survived! In any case Boxing Day would see our little family packed in the Kombi heading off North to the Goulburn River to meet the folks for 3 days of R&R and F&D. I managed to get three little fishing trips in, mostly while the camp was still in slumber, making the most of first light and first hatching of various invertebrates. The morning air was fresh and the river glowed a fire yellow with the low rise of the new day's sun light bouncing off the reflective surface. The little heat radiating from the sun created a rising mist making the scene all so more mystical, oh the serenity. Fish were rising consistently right in front of me, I provided one clean presentation after another however that elusive trout still evaded my fly skills, or the lack of. As frustrated as I was, my inside voice did it's best to convince me that 2011 will be 'the' year. The final morning I rolled out of camp around 5:30am unknowingly soon to be taught a very important lesson in river safety. My sleepy eyes and unfamiliarity of the river system didn't alert me to the raised water level. Overnight millions of litre's of water had been released from the Eildon Reservoir upstream, making the wade across the river a 20m minute 'adventure' compared to the previous mornings 2 minute stroll. Lesson learnt.

There has been an increase in renovations at HQ both interior wise and in the garden and a reslut my nails are blackened and white paint/silicone filler now dress my epidermal layers. At times I find I can't help but step back and quietly admire our little cottage. I can't help being a little chuffed with what we've achieved since we moved in over a year ago. Still lots to do but progress is evident, a home now resides where a tired cottage once stood.

The warmer weather has busied itself ripening the fruit at the property in Windermere that we're looking after. After a session collecting Boysenberries and Raspberries (and the odd thorn in the arm), we brewed a few bottles of jam for the winter. Making the jam whisked me back 20 years, in the kitchen at our farm. Buckets of bounty, an annual haul of Blackberries would be lovingly prepared and cooked into jam by Mum for our stockpile winter larder. One of my favorite treats back in the day, was scones my sister would bake dressed with real whipped cream and Blackberry Jam. If that won't warm the coldest of hearts what will?

We flipped over to the new calendar with our lovely friends Coco, Em and 'Joely' (aka The Beardy Spaniard). We all made promises to ourselves for the oncoming chapter in our lives, realistic or not the promises we made with the aid of liquid courage, who knows how successful we'll be. But at least we'll always have the memory of a stinking hot night in the nook eating Thai BBQ prawns and enjoying crispy cold beverages.

Even after the hectic last few weeks we top it off with a mid-week camp out with my sister Ky & Co. Deane (my brother in law) and I took our rifles out hunting white tails, but wind and lighting were not on our side. No matter as we had fun and Deane got to use his brand new CZ .22 which I might add is light as a feather and quiet, a brilliant camp rifle.

There is so much still to come, it's just a matter of fitting the good stuff and ensuring the rubbish is always taken out.

How highs the water muma? Five feet high and rising....

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Camp Limmer

Deane takes aim

Mugwamp Reserve