Family Holiday Happenings

If you follow the highway up the coast of NSW Australia towards Queensland, following the chain of beach cities, and you happen to take a certain exit left at some point...

If you then travel rather aimlessly along this road you've turned onto, you will eventually come to a small inconspicuous turn-off that, if you blinked at that instant or looked out the opposite window, you would have missed it altogether.

However: if you were an observant driver, and were paying close attention to the tiny roads that suddenly veer off the main-way and disappear into thick scrub, and you happened to slow the car and move onto this unassuming road, you would find, over a rickety white bridge spanning a salt water river, and to the left hidden behind trees and bushes, a little yellow house.

And this little yellow house... is paradise.

When we go on holidays, we always go up to this little yellow house in this tiny unknown town on the coast. It's a very special house. It first belonged to my grandparents, and my Mum and Dad have been going on holidays there since they were Jacob's and my age. This little town has a very special place in our hearts, and my siblings and I consider it a second home, since we have been visiting it for our whole lives.

Upon our arriving, we usually contrive some form of bucket brigade, emptying the trailer of bags and boxes and dragging them inside the house. All the food from the esky is packed into the fridge, and all the clothing bags and luggage - quite literally - is chucked into the waiting arms of whichever sibling happens to be standing in the doorway. In this unorthodox manner of unpacking, it doesn't take long until the job is entirely finished and everything is in its rightful place.

There are cycle paths everywhere here, through the tangled forest of the nature paths, and throughout the town. Both tiny towns (joined by the aforementioned bridge) are accessible by foot or by bicycle. The beach is a mere 3 or 4 kilometers away, and we often we spend the first half an hour of every morning riding to and from the beach for an early morning bicycle ride. We make quite a picture, I guess: all seven of us and Dad, strung out along the waterfront riding our bikes.

The next item on the agenda for Dad and the little ones, is fishing. Tide charts are whipped out and pondered long and magnanimously for the perfect time to set sail and catch dinner. Often it's only a matter of hours before Dad and a passel of young ones disappear into thin air, off to the bait shop with dreams of wales just waiting to be caught. Generally us "old folk" tend to stay at home with a book, or else go shopping together. Fishing, after all, is an acquired taste. :D

This town we call home has an abundance of little antique and second-hand shops that await our exploration. Since we are on holidays, we are in no rush to be anywhere, so we take a leisurely time browsing all the odds and ends in each one. Sometimes we'll come home with bargain clothing (we love Op shop clothing!), bargain gadgets, (Jacob) or bargain books (me). We spend the rest of the day polishing/admiring our new pretties, and proudly showing them off to the returning fishermen. (who, depending on what the fish were doing, sometimes need the distraction)

There is a pizza shop called "Big Brother's Pizza", and not to brag or be biased at all, we firmly believe it sells the best pizza on the planet. No lie. It's always the first meal of the holiday, and it fills the large hole that comes with a big day of holidaying. Sweet chilli chicken is a big favourite with everyone, but personally, I stick with the supremo. :)

I often spend my whole time away sleep deprived, because of the close confines of the bedrooms, and the unfamiliarity of the beds, but it is definitely worth it. If I get up in time - as I was able to this time - I go for the pushbike ride with everyone else. The crisp, clear, clean ocean air early in the morning with the sparkling sunshine is enough to make anybody smile. It is such a contrast from the dust-riddled air from our coal mining home town! Riding the cycle path alongside the sparkling ocean with birds taking to the skies and the streets coming to life, are sights that abound on these morning escapades. The air is so crisp, that every single breath I want to breathe as deep as I can, doing my utmost to inhale the entire glorious morning in one lungful, but I can never manage it. The clarity of the breeze has a bite to it, that leaves your lungs feeling clean and bright, and the sun warms your back and shoulders like a soothing massage. It's on mornings like these that you really believe nothing could be any better. :)

The nearest big town is about an hour's drive away, and we listen to music pumping out of the ipod or read aloud for the entire trip. We often visit it because it has a fishing shop strategically placed next to a Koorong store, Australia's leading Christian book/music retailer. We pull up at this remarkable feat of shop placement, and the family splits into two directions: both of which fleece us of money we never meant to spend. (I'll leave you to guess where I spent mine) I was able to purchase "Do Hard Things" and it's accompanying book, "Start Here" by Brett and Alex Harris this time, which I was well pleased with. I also bought two music CD's. (a big surprise to those who know of my unadventurous habits with buying music) And another two books, one called "Masquerade", and another called "Waterfall", first in the River of Time series by Lisa Bergen. It was a great read; both Jacob and I finished it before we had to go home, and I can't wait to read the rest of them.

After our splurge, we went on to a large mall which contains a huge bookshop. I was a very good girl, and I bought nothing there. (Merely because they didn't have the books I wanted) The mall is filled with a variety of food stalls, and we bought kebabs at a shop close by the entrance. They are delicious. We could barely fit them in, they were so generous. It was pleasant sitting around two tables shoved together, munching hungrily on our lunch, gazing around at the hundreds of passersby. Malls are very intriguing places in which to watch people, made even more fun when your family is there to watch with you.

A tradition for my two brothers and I on every holiday, is to ride our bicycles to the other side of the town to a shop simply known as "The Garage Sale Shop". If it's antique, believe me: that shop will hold it. Though the prices are outrageous, the place is a treasure trove of odds and ends you have never seen before, stacked high and low upon any flat surface, so that you must be careful when you turn around so as not to bump something over; thus upending an entire column of antiquities onto the floor. Our tradition continues with buying a fizzy drink each, and buying a cup of icecream with a spoon. We will then pile our goods (and whatever else that wasn't too outrageous to buy) into our brother's backpack, and cycle back to the museum, where we sit on the steps and pour fizzy drink into our icecream cups to make our very own icecream sodas. But of course, all good things must come to an end, and they stopped selling the icecream cups, so we had to resort to a simple other icecream treat to go with the fizzy instead. Our younger sister was old enough this time to come along, so us foursome had a lot of fun slurping sugar-loaded drinks along with our sugar-loaded icecream treats. Jacob also bought some white chocolate to sweeten the deal!

There are many paths and stairways down the street that follow the line of shops, and generally, we make our traditional trip on a Sunday, where most of the shops are closed, and no people are around. We then ride our bikes through all these ramps and footpaths, weaving in and out of the high and low sidewalks, and dodging whatever obstacles might be in the way. It is a lot of fun. :D We usually arrive home hot, full of sweet stuff, and with some fun things to tell.

I bought a necklace from a second hand shop. It is a silvery/blue mother-of-pearlish kind of fish, curling it's tail strung on a silver chain. Which is odd. I never ever buy jewelry, so I've no idea why I bought it. But I quite like it. I'm wearing it now, and it's going to be special I think. It will remind me of our holidays up there. I also bought a hat. A black, narrow brimmed hat that has a silver, black dotted ribbon around it which joins into a folded up flower. which is another odd thing. I never buy hats. So I broke two of my unspoken rules on this holiday, and then wondered why. But I quite like both the hat and necklace, so I guess that's alright.

We went to the beach on Saturday morning. The weather was hot, and I got sunburned. Why is it you only feel sunburn after the fact, I wonder? Why don't you feel it burning? Anyway, despite the cold water, we all went swimming. Jacob went surfing, and managed to catch a few waves. The water was biting cold, but refreshing, and the waves were lots of fun to duck under. We then spent the rest of the time out of the water soaking up the sun and reading. T'was quite pleasant.

Mum and Dad went and saw a movie one night, and came back telling us how awesome it was. So the next night, us older four went and saw it too! "Real Steel" was well worth the watch, very clean, very exciting, and very fun to view. We don't go to the movies very often, so it was quite exciting!

On Sunday we visited our cousins, since they live close by. We often visit their church, and this time we had the joy of seeing two members of my family baptised. It was the most wonderful thing to bear witness of! God really had His hand on that day. It was also great to catch up with our cousins, as we don't see them very often. Their new baby girl is nearly one year old, and the sweetest little girl you've ever seen! She could have been a porcelain doll, so pretty she is. It's amazing how fast babies grow.

Our last night, we had dinner at the club in town. They serve the most delicious baked meals, and this time was no exception. We had roast lamb with vegetables and gravy, and were so full by the end of the night, you could have rolled us out the door! After all the things we ate on this holiday, we kept saying to ourselves, "If you are what you eat, we are definitely junk after this week!" But what are holidays for? ;)

Packing up this morning, we got everything washed, vacuumed, mopped, cleaned out, repacked, and finished in about an hour and a half. We have gotten this "packing up to go home" thing down to a practised art by now, and we were on the road by 8am. Music and reading all the way home, it was a great trip full of memories from the great time spent away.

It was one of the loveliest holidays. It was so good to be together as a family; enjoying one another's company, laughing together, chatting together, discussing, and just hanging out. It was so good to get away just to relax and be together, however I must say, since it is now quite late, and it's been a long day, I am very glad to be home, and am looking forward to my own bed!


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  1. Sounds like you all had a really fun time! :D Thanks for sharing :)

    By the way, I'm curious - what did you think of Do Hard Things/Start Here?

  2. This sounds heavenly, Bushy. Can I come with you next time? :D

    Glad you had fun, and I hope you have come back feeling refreshed! I also hope we'll see more of you now. :D

  3. @Andrew: Thanks for reading! It was a great time. :D I haven't finished reading Do Hard Things or Start Here yet, but I am really enjoying Do Hard Things. Very challenged by it. :)

    @Grace: Thankyou for reading, my Gracie! T'would be awesome if you could come next time! :D Life hasn't slowed down, but I'm sure you'll see me every now and then. :)

  4. As usual, your summary of things was well-written and entertaining. I'm glad you had a good time. :)

  5. Thankyou, Jonathan! And thankyou for reading. :D It was a wonderful time away. :)


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