September 2010

  • Cover Page
  • Map of Trip-2006.
  • Map of Trip-2008.
  • Map of Trip-2009.
  • Map of Trip-2010.

  • Harry Alex Alex
                                                             The birthday boys

    For little Harry, September could not come fast enough. I love how excited he is about birthdays, not only his, but everyone else's as well. So with both Chris's and mine out of the way for another year all we had left now was Father's Day, the boys' birthdays and then the big one, our 25th Wedding Anniversary. Father's Day I was on call but we had a lovely cooked breakfast and I scored well with a One Arm Point (OAP) cap and new tee shirt. They will be good keepsakes. Then it was time for the long awaited event. Harry's birthday and the massive joint Alex/ Harry party. The poor boys have missed out a bit in the party department over the past few years, mainly because there have been no other kids to invite. Well this year, we had plenty of kids to invite, so the boys had a combined party. We asked Dean and Kelly if we could stage the mega event at their house (which was our house a few weeks earlier) as there is plenty of room and the trampoline. They had 10 kids come with plenty of party games, junk food and fun. The boys scored really well with the presents considering nobody knew there was an upcoming party and the shop has NO range of presents. I think people must have a stock pile of presents in their cupboard for these events. While we do have a life that we think is ideal, there are things the boys miss out on and it was great to see them surrounded by so many friends and having such a great time on their birthdays.

    Next it was Alex's actual birthday. It is hard to believe our big boy is now a teenager. It seems only yesterday that after many years of trying we discovered that Chris finally got her act together (Oi - takes two to tango!! Ed) and was pregnant. Next minute he was born and now he is a teenager. Man alive, has that time gone like a flash. Bit scary. Next thing he will be borrowing the car and leaving home. I am getting depressed at the thought already. We are already trying to convince him to live with us until he is at least 30. We may well live to regret telling him that as we recently saw a show about kids 'not leaving home' !!!! He has always been an absolute delight and continues to be so. So far the whole adolescent thing has been completely uneventful and without any grief, no sleeping all day, no outbursts (...maybe just the odd one), no being difficult, in fact nothing at all. Are we just lucky or are most of the teenage problems caused by societal pressures and bad behaviour caused and learnt from their peers? Who knows, and frankly who cares, as long as he causes us no grief.

    The boys party The boys party The boys party The crew
                                                      The birthday party

    Chris continued to enjoy working at the school, with the staff all being really nice adding to the experience. The kids on the whole are very well behaved and there is an excellent behaviour management process in place. I also spent a bit of time in the senior school running a drug and alcohol program that went over about 4-5 weeks. The kids were not only really well  behaved but also very interested and interactive. Harry continued to go to school on the days that Chris worked and really loved it. He would be dressed and ready to run well before school started. Alex only attended for circus sessions and technology/manual arts lessons (plus culture and fun days) as he was busy at home with his distance ed work. It never ceases to amaze me how self directed he is, what a skill to have.

    One Arm Point School
    Next social outing was Erin's birthday bash. Erin is the Deputy at the school. Harry summed her up perfectly and stated, "Erin is too nice to be a Deputy. She never yells" (That is Erin in the middle picture below, the one with the terrible wig on!!). We agree, we will miss Erin when we leave OAP. We again had a great evening, a few drinks, great food and great company. Then it was Kelly's birthday(There seems to be an awful lot of birthdays in September. Why is that? September minus 9 months = Christmas. Ah, a little too much festive cheer it would seem!!!) So down to the beach and to our favourite Bali again for drinks and a sausage sizzle. Yet another great evening, great view and average company (ha! ha!). Then a few days later it was another kid's party for Dean and Kelly's youngest, Grace. More food, more drinks and more laughs. How much can one body suffer before it starts to give way?

    Next on this never ending social calendar was a party at one of the teacher's houses. It was a fancy dress 'Beer Trivia' night. Now let me tell you, a bit like trying to come up with a birthday present at short notice, trying to get a costume in the middle of nowhere can be challenging. I decided to go as a 'Pure Naked Blonde' with Chris going as 'Emu Girl'. It was an excellent night which was extremely well run and organised. Our table actually did well coming in 3rd overall in the trivia with me winning the best dressed for the evening. I must say I was a little apprehensive turning up in my get-up and certainly did stand out (stick out) in the crowd. We were sensible and left just before turning into pumpkins, unlike some of the much sillier (and much younger) who witnessed the sun rise on yet another perfect day.

    Beer Fest Beer Fest Beer Fest Beer Fest Beer Fest

    Beer Fest Beer Fest Beer Fest Beer Fest
                                              The 'Beer Trivia' party animals

    One Arm Point will always hold a special place in our hearts.

    Don't go all soppy on me, we haven't left yet. Our next weekend and we were off again in Dave's boat for a spot of crabbing. We headed towards Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm and made our way down a small creek. It was amazing making our way across the bay as we had to weave our way through all the rows of pearl shells. Now let me put you in the picture.

     Crabbing Crabbing Crabbing Crabbing
                                                 Crabbing near Cygnet Bay

    The tide is coming in, rapidly. Not just any tide but a 10 metre + tide. The creek is about as wide as the boat and it is almost impossible to control and manoeuvre the boat with the tide running at that speed. You combine that with Dave's driving and it was somewhat amusing. He was getting himself a bit confused and was turning the wheel the wrong way with very interesting consequences. Then you had the added problem of trying to position the dilly pot at the base of the mangroves and then tie the end of the rope in a tree so you could locate it later, while getting smacked around the head with branches as we careered out of control in some secret spot. All sounds fairly easy you say. Well it wasn't. It was bloody hard work but we did end up with about 6 keepers and a few fish that we caught while waiting on the pots (you only need to leave them in the water for about twenty minutes at a time in these parts). It was a magnificent day out and we all had heaps of fun.

    It was then time again to move house for the 4th time since we have been in OAP. My contract had come to an end but they wanted Chris for another week. We shifted into a teacher's house and I became a man of leisure for the week.

    Hunters Creek, OAP Hunters Creek, OAP Hunters Creek, OAP Hunters Creek, OAP
                                           Hunters Creek - sunset then stuck!

    The shift was again fairly painless with the teacher's house being very comfortable. I had big plans to get out and go fishing and had a few boat trips lined up. Well mother nature had other ideas. It absolutely blew its guts out for the entire week, so fishing was completely off the agenda. As it turned out I was flat out anyway, not sure doing what. In our last week we did end up going out 7 nights in a row(!!!), which for people of our age was far too strenuous. Great fun but tiring. One of those nights had us back to the sunset platform at Cygnet Bay Pearls with Craig and Kelli to again have a few drinks with the sun setting on another picture perfect Peninsular day. Then it was off to Hunters Creek with Dave and family and Dean and family for a sunset barbecue on the beach. It was a lovely evening, a sensational sunset  and we had a heap of laughs. On the way home Dean got bogged in the Prado, we got bogged in the Patrol and Dave in his $1,000 rust bucket sailed through with ease. Boy did he give it to us, the boys with the big flashy 4x4's. If we had that much rust and that many holes we would have got through as well, it's all about power to weight you know, and holes don't weigh much!!!!!!

    The last few days of the week Alex and I spent all day over at the school grinding and polishing trochus shells. It is quite a process and was a rather steep learning curve for me. As Alex had been attending manual arts lessons at school learning the art of shell polishing, he was able to steer me in the right direction. I ended up with 6 polished shells with Alex doing 3 and he also made some jewelery from Dugong bones. Do yourself a favour and have a look at the following link that Alex did as another presentation for school - Grinding Trochus Shells, Pearl Shells and Dugong Bones.  This will explain the process much better than I could and is complete with good photos.  Chris and the boys also spent an afternoon at school with Josh (one of the teachers) having a lesson on jewelery making. We have now all had a go at it and have something to take away as a reminder of our time here.

    Shell Grinding Shell Grinding Shell Grinding Shell Grinding
                           Shell Grinding - Who is that masked man????

    One minute we are moving house and the next we are packing the car in preparation to move on again. Luckily we were not moving far but never-the-less it still all has to fit in the car and camper, which seems to be a concept I have trouble getting through to Chris. Yes, we might need to eat, we might need endless crafts, but the fact is,  it has to fit. It would seem that is my problem, but make it fit I did, just. The boys seemed happy being strapped to the roof rack for the 6 hour journey(!!!!), so the back seat could be packed with vital, can't survive without, absolutely must have at all costs, stuff  (all very important stuff you know - Ed.). As I said earlier, leaving was sad but it was time to move on. Can't stay too long, can't get too comfortable.

    Our last night it was back to Dean and Kelly's to watch the AFL semi and have a bit of a farewell dinner with a group that we had become good friends with over our stay at OAP. It was a great night. Thanks guys. So early the next morning we were up and again down the bumpy Cape Leveque Road. First stop was Derby for a little shopping before heading to Looma. Well, in actual fact we were actually heading to Camballin, which is the small white fella town about 12 kms out of Looma. So here is the story as well as we know it. Looma is the Aboriginal community of about 400 people. It is nestled at the base of a mountain range and is very close to the Fitzroy River. Boating and fishing are favourite pastimes here with every yard having at least one boat. It is a very functional community that seems generally speaking to have it all together. Camballin is a small town consisting of about 30 houses and a small shop. It mainly consists of teachers, council staff, clinic staff and essential services staff (power and water).

     Our house at Camballin Nice This will do!!! Do we have to go back to the camper???
                          The Looma house- After this it's back to the camper!!

    The housing is by far the best we have had so far. The house is very new, highset and very, very comfortable. Our reason for choosing here is that it is in the general direction of Qld and is very quiet. That is good as we have a bit of catching up to do, especially with regards to the boys' school work, repacking and reorganizing for the trip back to Qld. We do have a few outings planned while we are in Looma, one of which is a trip to Broome for the weekend and then a fishing trip with Wayne and his family. Wayne is one of the Aboriginal workers at the clinic and has spent his entire life in this area. What he doesn't know about this part of the Kimberley is not worth knowing. If we were going to spend a bit more time out this way, he certainly would have a lot he could teach us.

    25th Wedding Anniversary
    Our 25th wedding Anniversary
    Of course the most important event for the month was the wedding anniversary. Not just any anniversary, the 25th one. Who could believe that anyone could put up with my stupidity for that long? That would take a particularly stupid, I mean sensational woman (Excuse me!?!#!). We had a lovely evening in downtown Looma. The kids cooked dinner and I had bought a nice bottle of Moet, but Chris decided to hang onto it until we get to somewhere more romantic. How could you get anywhere better than here???
    We are having a celebratory week on Daydream Island on our way home so we might crack it there.

    So that is pretty much all there is for September. October will really start to hot up, not only the weather but also our pace. We move on from here around mid-month and then rapidly make our way back across the Barkly Highway into Qld and to Townsville where our 3 months of being tourists  begins. We have tonnes planned and things booked. More of that next month.

    So September saw us start at the beach and end in the bush. The weather in the last few weeks has become rather uncomfortable with temperatures hovering around 39 degrees C. It looks like the top end will be in for a long hot summer. Thank goodness for the 10 air-conditioners our house has, and I am even more pleased we don't pay for electricity!!!

    Until next month.

    I would be unstoppable, if I could just get started.

    The 'A' Team- One Arm Point Clinic The Kids One Arm Point. The Kids- One Arm Point.

         The OAP Clinic team                                         Kirra, Harry, Alex and Jayden.

    Chris and her work mates Chris and her work mates
                         Chris and some school staff