The other day, I was suddenly filled with the vague idea that I’d forgotten about something a bit important. Something I’d neglected by accident. What could it possibly be?
Oh, you know – just this blog of mine.
I’m a bit annoyed at myself because not only have I forgotten about an entire blog – I’ve forgotten why I started it in the first place. What I really want is for it to be a record of Things That Happen and, instead, I’ve been trying to turn it into a ‘proper’ blog with a purpose and a niche and who knows what else. I suppose it would be nice to earn a living from blogging, but all I really want is to be able to browse back through 2019 and remind myself of the fun things I did and shared with my lovely readers.
Instead, I’ve been lamenting the fact that I haven’t posted anything about op shops and that’s meant to be one of my main themes. And the last Roadtrip Diaries entry was from 2018 and I really need to catch up on that before I can even think of posting about more recent adventures…
If my blog had a theme, it would be: I did stuff and here are the photos to prove it.
So before we head into 2020 – the year where I update my blog more regularly and do stuff so I can share the photos that prove it – I’d like to catch you up on those three months where I forgot I had a blog.
When last we met, my camera had died and I was forced to replace it with a newer, updated model. I would have done this eventually, but it was meant to be on my terms, not the whim of my old camera.
Since the buttons and dials are in slightly different and (apologies to my old camera) better places, I needed to head out and get to grips with my new photographic reality. The location for this necessary exercise? The newly re-opened Badger Weir Picnic Area. I used to come here with my family when I was growing up in Yarra Glen but it had been closed for several years after a massive storm ripped through and destroyed almost all the infrastructure. We could still see the signs of it even now: sparse re-growth and entire sections of the walk where enormous eucalypts had simply been flattened by the massive storm.
It was here that I pursued my love of photographing signs.
Basically: do nothing in this park except walk softly and exit without touching anything.
I really should have posed with the next sign but I am completely out of practice at not looking like a twerp in front of the camera.
We wandered on and at one point, I seriously thought my husband was having a heart attack when he grabbed at his chest and started jumping around. It turned out he just had an itch and was trying to reach it. An itch ON HIS BACK. Seriously. Husbands.
While I explained I’d prefer if he didn’t freak me out like that by inadvertently faking his own death throes, we made our way to the actual weir, which features this thingy.
Now that I’d learnt where everything was on my new camera, I had a chance to put this knowledge into practice when I joined the Failboats to surprise my friend at her baby welcome party in Canberra. We told her we couldn’t come, then secretly arranged with her husband to arrive as surprise guests.
And since we’ve been to Canberra so many times, we decided we’d make it into an adventure and take the long way up the coast road. Basically, we drove through all the country that has subsequently been ravaged by the bushfires: through East Gippsland, into Eden, and up to Jervis Bay. It was a fabulous adventure and it makes me so sad to think of the countryside, wildlife, communities and towns that have been destroyed by the fires.
Here’s a glimpse of our trip, starting with a destination we’ve been wanting to investigate for some time: the long jetty at Port Welshpool.
It is seriously long. That’s only about half of it, too. I do consider myself lucky to have friends who get excited about visiting long jetties or stopping because we’ve seen a sign for an historic bridge precinct.
After an overnight stay in Orbost, we drove through the endless bush until it was time to turn off for the Green Cape lighthouse. This involved driving along twenty kilometres of dirt road, encountering at least three judgemental goannas, before reaching the lighthouse. The lighthouses in New South Wales have a distinctly different style from Victorian ones, which we found fascinating.
And instead of sharing the photo of the lighthouse, I’m going with the burger I ate for lunch in Eden instead.
There was a sign outside proclaiming ‘Best Burgers on the Coast’ and who are we to resist such a claim? They were rather delicious. My friend’s car was also in need of re-fuelling, so we were just feeling thankful we’d made it to the town before breaking down in the middle of nowhere.
Once we reached our home for the next two nights in Jervis Bay, we visited two more lighthouses. This one is my favourite because it’s actually a failhouse.
The Cape St George lighthouse was literally cursed from the minute people settled there, and not just because it was built in the wrong spot and actually caused accidents instead of guiding ships to safety. Sickness and children accidentally shooting each other are just the start of it.
With our fill of lighthouses (for now), we headed over the mountains to Canberra, stopping at Tianjara Falls on the way.
Yeah, we couldn’t see the waterfall either. It is there, though. It’s probably a lot better in Winter or Spring after some rain; all we got was a tiny trickle we could only see if we zoomed in on our photos.
We also managed to capture our only photo of the five of us together at this point.
I love the range of expressions here. What you can’t quite see is that this platform was literally projected over the edge of the cliff. I mean, I know cantilevering is a proper thing and all that, but it’s hard to believe in it when all you can see below your feet is a MASSIVE DROP TO YOUR INEVITABLE DEATH.
After reaching Canberra and successfully surprising our friend, three of us continued back to Victoria where I’d booked us a night in a gorgeous blue cottage in the middle of a working farm. We weren’t expecting the welcome we received from the resident sheep.
So many sheep. We’d clear one lot of them, then another flock would greet us around the next corner.
This is where my photos seem to stop for the year. I took plenty at work, but nothing much personally and this is mostly because I decided to do NaNoWriMo. We were running the Young Writers Program at work and I wanted to take part to a) try and finish my current book, and, b) set a good example for the students. They were all so fabulous! One of my students set an initial goal of 500 words and ended up writing over 8,000. That was all the inspiration I needed to reach my 50,000 word goal.
The story’s still not done, but that’s something I’ll worry about later.
Once November was done, December seemed to vanish in a flash and then 2019 was over.
It has definitely been a year. I started a new job in one of the most interesting schools I’ve ever encountered – the students are seriously fantastic and I’ve had so many firsts: first time a student called me ‘mum’ by accident (and once ‘dad’, oddly); first time working in the same office with an IT team who have pretty much adopted me as one of their own; first time a student had given me a handmade card with heartfelt words. It hasn’t been without its down sides, but the up sides are so good that I’m powering through and doing my best to be awesome.
We’ve finally made a start on getting some stuff sorted around the house, too. It’s taken us several years to fully embrace the fact that we’re home-owners, not renters, and we can do stuff whenever we want. We’re getting our rubbish bathroom sorted in a couple of weeks and it’s going to be nice not to have to be careful about where we step in case we fall through the floor, among other things.
I finished the year playing at a carols by candlelight service with my beloved concert band. See below for proof. (Not pictured: the five million flies that kept us company all night.)
Look at that band! It’s at least double the size it was when I started a few years back, if not triple! Now, I’m not saying it’s all my doing, but once I turned up, the band started expanding. Coincidence?
Well, yes, most likely.
So what’s ahead for 2020? Here are a couple of ideas.
Get better at taking photos of myself.
I’d love to share photos of the clothes I’ve been knitting or sewing but I am so fabulous at posing that they’d actually look better if I just chucked a dress on a wheelie bin and told it to work it for the camera.
Try new clothing styles.
For the last little while (aka ‘forever’), I’ve been into a classic fit-and-flare style and I’ve mostly sewn and worn dresses in cute prints. This year, I want to try different styles: dresses with looser fits, skirts and tops, styles that might not suit me but that I want to try anyway. Pants.
Go to festivals and events.
The problem here is that a whole bunch of people turn up to these events and people en masse drive me nuts. Let this be the year that I develop the skills to enjoy an event despite the millions of people testing my patience at every turn. Seriously, there are so many interesting things I’ve wanted to go to over the past couple of years (mostly involving oldey timey stuff or steam trains) and I just didn’t because I knew there’d be people there. Ugh. This stops now.
Share my adventures when they happen.
Because my current practice of waiting about eight months to edit the photos and upload them is putting this record of my life a little out of whack. (Seriously, I went on that South Coast adventure at the end of September and I’ve literally only edited the first two photos in Lightroom and the ones I shared here.)
Get better at photography again.
Because I feel like I used to be waaaaay better at it and my skills have fallen off without enough practice. I went on an op shop roadtrip with my husband the other day (post to come soon (no, really)) and every time I took my camera out in public I felt so awkward. I want to get to the point where I don’t care and I’m happily snapping away at everything without being so self-conscious.
Do stuff and post photos to prove it.
That’s my niche, after all.
That’s the plan, anyway! I hope you’ll join me this year for a lot of doing stuff and posting photos to prove it.