Monday, December 10, 2007



I'm not one prone to superlatives, but..actually... I had a bloody good weekend.

Even by Saturday afternoon things were going swimmingly. When I was paying for my petrol at the servo late in the day, the 'kid' serving me asked "Have you had a good day?" I tend to think this is a funny trend in cashier pleasantries - (I even got asked what I'd been up to one day, and you don't really know how to answer such a question from a complete stranger some 20 odd years younger...) but the question on Saturday afternoon did make me stop and think.

I paused, and then said "Well, yes thanks, I've actually had a really good day! A bike ride and two swims down at the beach. Can't ask for much more than that!"

Marc and I got up early and rode to town to the usual Community Ride... and then kicked back for two hours (longer than usual) over coffee just chatting, before a pretty warm ride home (to total 77km ridden before 11.00.) Social fitness. It works.

So then we all went down to the beach - just what Marc and I needed to wash away the sweat, and the girls don't need to be asked twice. The waves were great - just perfect for bodysurfing and boogie boarding. And then in the afternoon we had a cycling friend visit with her daughter, so we dragged them down for a swim at the beach later in the afternoon. Two surfs in one day!

Marc is pretty good at bodysurfing, and he is very much a bodysurfing purist. No fins, or hand planes, or any other such equipment. He still amazes me at how far he can catch a wave into the beach. Caitlin has mastered the art quite well now, too, and in the last few years (with baby/toddler/child supervision duties winding back) I've been able to get out in the water at the same time as him, and he's been able to give me some lessons. Given the right conditions, I can now do a pretty decent job of catching waves in myself, and so it's all high fives, thumbs up, and big grins all round when I swim onto a wave and ride it a decent way in. (Right now I'm working on being able to take a breath and then keep going.)

And when I (occasionally still) freak out at the size of a set of waves rolling in, my 14 year old gives me advice!! "Come out further Mum.. before it breaks." ... "Dive deeper and touch the sand."

Alison still takes her boogie board out, and much of the time is able to put herself on waves, riding all the way into shore. And this year Zoe (now with an ongoing relationship with her boogie board) has floored us all with the request "Dad, can you take me out the back?" This is monumental stuff for our little miss Chicken - there's no two ways about it, Zoe, out of the three, and compared to her peers, has always been a complete wuss with the surf. I think she took brave pills this year, but it's a hoot to see her face as Marc shoots her onto a wave, and she careers down the face of it, and zooms all the way into shore.

So now it's more or less a family affair out there. )Even if I still wonder 'who are you and what have you done with our Zoe?') And when we only have to stroll a couple of hundred metres from our house to do this, we wonder why you'd ever want to live anywhere else! I am also acutely aware and thankful that things have changed so much this year. Marc is home pretty much every weekend now, and so we get to do this sort of stuff, together, on a regular basis.

Sunday we decided we should go tandem riding, as this friend had made a big effort to fit her tandem in the back of her car (somehow!) and bring it down from Armidale. We chose a shortish loop ride near Coffs that we hadn't ridden before. We heard there might be some waterholes to swim in out that way, so we crossed fingers, packed our swimmers, and set off.

We struck gold...

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Oh, how splendid! What a great time for you all!

Please tell me more about your part of Australia, though- do you have to worry about Wild Things at swimming holes?

I hope your whole summer goes, well, swimmingly!
What a fabulous weekend! I feel better for having shared it. I'm with JC on the wild things. Swimmingholes in these parts tend to harbor watermoccasins and catfish.
Sounds great but I'm even more of a wuss than your previous two commentors. And what on earth are watermoccasins? No, actually I don't want to know. I'm far too busy worrying about sharks and stonefish for you, Tracey...
Very cool weekend, Trace! One of the things that V and 'Salina share is the surfing at the beach experiences, both body and boogie. As V is a surfer, he gets her up on her board and they pick the waves coming in. You get better swell than us down there, so our beach is very friendly!

I hate stillwater swimming only because of the mud underfoot.
Watermoccasins? Do tell!!

Nothing to be concerned about in that sort of waterhole in this part of the country. Too far south for crocodiles!! LOL... And, jeanie, the bottom happened to be covered in those big round pebbly rocks.. another reason why it was a great find.

I suppose sharks are a remote issue in the surf... but you tend not to think about it. To tell you the truth potty mummy, the thought of stonefish never crosses my mind when I'm at the beach...
Water moccasins (also called cottonmouths, because the inside of their mouth is white) are these aggressively nasty pit vipers-poisonous snakes and they're so pugnacious they'll swim across the pond just to have a go at you. They can be up to 6 feet long and as big around as your arm. I know this for a fact because I killed one that big. It is very normal for anyone canoeing on a river to carry a pistol because of watermoccasins. They will climb into your boat, or hang from a tree and drop on you.

and why do we ever go out on the river? Because we're funny that way and it gives us the opportunity to shoot something. Being American and all...

Here's a web site with good pictures:
Whoa.. and they think Australia is full of nasties!!!

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