Yes Sir, No Sir…how high Sir!

 

It may will be a case of Yes Sir, No Sir, how high Sir, over the coming week.

As part of TomO’s school curriculum he does military cadets and is keen to advance to a full military career in the future and this coming week he is off to an army cadet camp at Singleton Army barracks in the Hunter Valley.

And this year I get to tag along and join in the adventure, although I suspect for me it will be peeling sacks of potatoes and onions to feed the “starving” cadets who will number approximately 330.

Mind you, a week in the bush is right up my alley and with a bit of luck I get to drive one of the army trucks and take a ride in a black-hawk helicopter – such is life in the “retired ranks”…

Speak to you in a week, Baz – The Landy

Photo’s: Janet-Planet

The thunder of a hundred hoofs (Camping in your backyard)…

Breaking the bounds of urban living from Australia’s largest city and heading bush into the Australian Outback without a care in the world is always tantalisingly attractive.

Fortunately, as a family we are to be able to hitch up our camper trailer and head west at least once or twice a year.

The glow of a setting sun on a faraway horizon, the warmth of a camp fire crackling in harmony with the sizzle of a roast cooking in the camp-oven, and the chorus of laughter and banter with family and friends is what draws us to camping in this great country of ours.

And if you are like me, my mind’s eye pictures this scene almost every other day!

The problem for many of us is that work and the studies of teenage children tend to get in the way of a sojourn across a parched, rugged landscape under a never-ending blue sky.

Such is the beauty of Australia.

Recently, the call of the bush and a shoulder of lamb roasted on the fire was far too great to resist so we headed for a camp in our own backyard. Well, not quite literally our backyard, but a short drive up the freeway to a place called Glenworth Valley.

Glenworth Valley is a sprawling 3,000 acre property located just to the north of Sydney that caters to a variety of activities including, horse riding, quad bike riding, and for the less active inclined, a float on a li-low down a quiet meandering creek or if you like, just a leisurely stroll along many of the bush tracks.

Glenworth Valley has it all…!

And for those who cannot go a couple of days without a coffee fix expertly prepared by a barista, don’t be alarmed, you are catered for in a small café located near the stables.

Usually, we avoid camping with the crowds, in fact, as a family we are quite comfortable being in the middle of no-where without another soul in sight. The trouble with living and working in an urban environment is you usually need to travel some distance to find your idyllic spot, especially one that you won’t need to share with someone else…

The trip to Glenworth Valley was a rewarding way to re-charge the soul with family and friends despite there being just more than a few other campers who were perhaps encouraged out by the warmer weather and a long-weekend.

But don’t be put off by there being other campers, we still had plenty of room to kick-back and enjoy our camp-oven roasted lamb, washed down by a glass or two of red!

If you ever make it to Glenworth Valley don’t miss watching the horses’ race out of their holding yard and along the bush track that leads to their paddock. The thunder of the hoofs of over a hundred horses in full flight is a daily ritual that happens not long before the sun slips below the western hills, a spectacle not to be missed, that’s for sure…

Australian Kookaburra

And don’t worry about taking your alarm clock, the kookaburra’s will herald in a new day dawning just before you hear the sound of the horses returning from the paddock to be saddled up for another day of riding in the picturesque Glenworth Valley.

Enjoy, XPLORE…

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun!

 

The Camp Fire

One of the best things about camping is sitting around the fire cooking camp food…

And with a long-weekend on offer we are heading bush to escape the bounds of modern urban living, well for 48-hours at least!

On our travels we always cook on an open fire using our cast-iron camp oven. What better way is there to bring everyone together, hey?

Rest assured there is no shortage of laughter and friendly banter as we raise a glass to friendship, the setting sun projecting a montage of ever changing colour on a ruggedly beautiful landscape…

And what better way to greet the warming rays of the sun as it reaches out on a brisk spring morning than devouring a batch of scones with lashings of butter and jam, expertly prepared and cooked by my wonderful partner, Janet…

Camp food and fun in the bush with family and friends, you’ve gotta love it…hey?

Photos: Baz – The Landy

To Travel is to Live (And Warm Beer)

“To move, to breathe, to fly, to float,
To gain all while you give,
To roam the roads of lands remote,
To travel is to live.”

I was reminded of this eloquent quote from Hans Christian Andersen as Mrs Landy, Janet-Planet, and I took an early morning stroll in the picturesque village of Dittisham, situated on the River Dart in Devon, England.

Yes, I hear the chorus ring out…

“There is no red dust or never ending blue skies in the South of England Baz”…

Crikey, I can live with that, for a week or two, but seriously, warm beer?

Mind you, after a couple of pints down at the Ferry Boat Inn, okay Janet, three, I didn’t realise we were counting, one can almost get used to it…

“To travel is to live”.

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Getting “The Snip”

Trilby Station

A few days back, TomO, the Crown Prince, came home sporting a new haircut even though it was only a couple of weeks since his last one…

Seemingly, being a teenager heralds in a new found attention on appearances, let’s call it grooming…

Mind you, this new found focus on grooming, that is creating “gridlock” in the family bathroom, has its genesis in the fact he catches a train packed to the brim with Cheltenham High girls most days…

If he was a peacock out in the scrub there would be no mistaking him, that’s for sure!

But hey, we were all a teenager once…

Yes, okay, that was some time ago for me, and nice of you to bring that up!

Anyway, I asked him…

“What do you talk about as the scissors are snipping away”

“Oh, Just barber talk”…he quipped!

“Yeah I get that”…musing to myself,

As a kid I always looked forward to a haircut, still do mind you to ensure I avoid that ageing rock star look.

You know, long hair, bordering on a mullet, and slightly greying…

Oh my gawd!

Mind you, the bill for Mrs Landy’s hairdo is ten times more than mine every other month…

Yep, that’s right, a couple of “grey nurses”.

Now you will understand why I can’t retire to travel this great country of ours full-time. But hey, Mrs Landy always looks immaculate, even in the bush without her prized hair-dryer!

Bargarra Beach

But it got me thinking…

I talk the leg off the barber’s chair for my fifteen minutes and twenty bucks in the snip shop, so I am left wondering what you get for a couple of hundred in the parlour.

Mrs Landy must talk herself hoarse in between all those lattes!

Yep, barber talk, where would we be without it, hey?

Photos: Baz – The Landy

A Gift of Flowers – from the Australian Outback…

A wonderful thing about the Australian Outback is the contrasting colours of the deep red soil, a never-ending blue sky and our beautiful wildflowers.

And speaking of beauty, my wonderful partner, Janet (Planet), spends countless hours photographing our wildflowers on our trips to the “interior”.

Um, yes…countless! Some time ago, another beautiful person, Lavinia of Salmon Brook Farms, along with her partner, Rick, planted a memorial garden on their farm in America dedicated to the memory of Janet’s sister, Marion and her father, Archie.

Tragically, Marion lost her life to Meniere ’s disease a number of years ago, and Archie, well Archie lived a wonderful life passing away just before his 99th birthday in 2013. Since Marion’s passing, Janet and her sister have dedicated much time to supporting sufferers’ of this disease through fundraising under the banner “Marion’s Artree” In her most recent newsletter, which you can view on her blog, Salmon Brook Farms, Lavinia wrote… “It has been said by many that gardens link us from the physical to the spiritual”. And crikey, ain’t that just so true… For sure Lavinia and Rick, you are true testament to the motto we love so much! “There are no ordinary moments; no ordinary people; no ordinary lives…” From the bottom of our hearts, thank you… Baz (Big bad), Janet (Planet), and TomO (the wonder boy!), Wanaka, New Zealand

The Darling River – A National Treasure

Trilby Station

As regular visitors to the Darling River area in western New South Wales it was hard not to notice on our most recent visit how much the river level has gone down over the past few months.

Many Australian outback travellers will be familiar with the section of the river from Bourke to Menindee which is an enjoyable drive and a great way to spend a week or two. Just meandering across the far-reaching plains on the dusty track that follows the Darling…

Recently we spent a few days alongside the Darling at Trilby Station, a large sheep station not too far from the river port of Louth. Its owners, Gary and Liz are welcoming hosts and the Murray family can trace their settlement on the river back six generations to 1860 – truly, a pioneering family!

In days long gone river boats gently steamed their way from the coast to Bourke, their owners’ plying trade and carrying much needed supplies to the small communities that were established at varying intervals along the river. On the return journey, loaded with bales of wool, the boats were gracefully navigated to the sea port situated a long way from the dusty and, at times, desolate interior.

I am sure many will remember the Australian mini-television series “All the Rivers Run” that was based on the novel by Nancy Cato. Whilst it was centered around the Murray River, daily life on the Darling would have been much the same.

As my kayak gently rocked in the shallow waters on a cooling breeze, the sound of the rustling leaves on the river gums transported me to another time as I drifted downstream from our camp. I could hear the laughter of people long-gone, the toil of the boat crews ensuring the boiler had a head-of-steam, and the gentle sound of the paddle on the steamers as their river boat captains navigated their way along the river, skilfully and carefully avoiding hidden and submerged obstacles…

In times of drought and lack of rains further north many boats were trapped as the river turned into a series of water-holes as it dried up. Although in the days of the River Boat the Darling flowed far more freely than it does today as there were no weirs to hinder the gentle flow of the water, no cotton farms sucking the life from it or the surrounding country that depends on its precious water for survival.

Cotton farming arrived into the region in the 1960s after the Boon and Buster families established themselves in and around Bourke.

The fifty years since that time has seen a steady decay of the Darling and the greater Murray-Darling basin. One has to question the wisdom of growing cotton on the world’s driest continent at the expense of degrading the water in our rivers – some will rightly call it vandalism.

I am a avid student of aboriginal culture and histories, striving to read, learn and listen to as much as I am able to absorb.  In April 2010, aboriginal people whose traditional areas border the Darling, Macquarie and Bogan catchment areas formed a group to ensure their views on river management were heard.

The following quote from Phil Sullivan, an Ngemba traditional owner, struck a resonance with me and perhaps it will with others.

“Water to me is the essence of life. And I’ve got to respect life, and I’ve got to honour life. If I don’t honour it and look after it, then it’s going to take my life away from me. It’s going to take the very essence of who I am away from me.

So that’s why I honour the river, the water, and give respect to it. Because in the end if I don’t look after that… then me and my family and my tribe and the gift that’s been given to us is going to be whittled away.

I got to give honour and I got to give respect to that, first and foremost. And then everything else will fall into place. It’s like a bit of a foundation.” Trilby Station

The Darling River should be treated as a natural treasure for all, not dammed with weirs so the water can be whittled away on an agriculture crop that may have some economic value, but  a huge environmental cost.

Whether visiting for the first time or returning to explore further, take your time and enjoy the Darling, a mighty river that breathes life into a parched and ancient land…

Cheers, Baz – The Landy

Fate, are you a believer?

A couple of months ago I decided to put aside my climbing ambitions in Nepal this year after my sister, Debbie, was diagnosed with advanced cancer.

Instead Deb and I went on a road trip a week or so ago with our mother to the Queensland country town where she grew up, having a wonderful time together as a family.

Last Wednesday, TomO, the crown prince, broke his patella, his knee cap as it is more commonly known, in a bad fall in the school gym.

Needless to say it was a traumatic time for Janet and me to see the little bloke in so much pain.

This happened on the day I was due to arrive in Kathmandu to climb Mera Peak and just ahead of the tragic news overnight of a severe earthquake involving large loss of life in Kathmandu.

TomO had surgery on Thursday to repair his patella and all went well and he is recovering at home with lots of ice-cream! Unfortunately this will keep an active young man on the benches for the next few months, but the young bounce back quickly!

My climbing partners on this trip to Nepal headed to Lukla just prior to the earthquake and I’ve had news they are okay…

Janet has always been behind my mountaineering ambition and adventures one-hundred percent, but gave me a hug this morning and said,

“Glad you didn’t go you were needed here for reasons we didn’t know at the time…”

If it had not have been for Deb’s condition, which we would change in a heart beat if we could, I would have been in Nepal. But despite her condition Deb is still looking out for her little brother in ways that big sister’s do and perhaps only the “universe” will ever understand…

Our thoughts go out to all those affected in Nepal and if you are able to support the wonderful Nepalese people via a relief fund, please do.

 

Baz – The Landy

Courage, Endurance, Mateship, Sacrifice…

Kokoda Track This morning, just prior to the rising of the sun, Australian’s for all walks of life gathered in the parks of our cities and our small country towns to honour the men and women of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice so we may enjoy the life we do today.

 A life in Australia that is governed by a democratic process and free from many of the troubles that we see around the world today.

As I stood silently by the Memorial in our local park the sun was piercing the eastern horizon on a glorious morning, the Kookaburras’ were heralding the arrival of a new day and I thought how lucky am I to have grown up in this great Nation of ours.

Our outback travels take us through many small towns and communities in this vast country of ours and it was from these places that the young men of a new Nation enlisted to serve the Empire…

Bluey and the Boys, people just like you and me, men, just boys, that didn’t think twice about serving King and Country.

Today marks the 100th Anniversary of the landing at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915, a place where the term ANZAC was forged on that small wind swept peninsular, stained forever with the blood of our brave and courageous…

“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old; 
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. 
At the going down of the sun and in the morning 
We will remember them.”

Lest We Forget

Australian Military

Everything has changed – really?

Scarborough, Australia

Do you ever get that sense that wherever you look these days something has changed, perhaps for the better, often for the worse?

Seemingly, technology has made life easier for us, if you know how to use it!

Crikey, I have just worked my way through that whopping big manual that came with the VCR recorder and now they tell me they’re finished, kaput, and useless.

TomO, the crown prince, said it belonged in a museum anyway, adding that in fact that most of the contents of our house were starting to resemble a museum collection.

Strewth, isn’t that something else that has changed, the cheek of the young people these days…

And how about fast food?

Hell, I remember when fast food was a Chiko Roll and a can of coke from the local fish and chip shop. These days we’ve got so many choices that a bloke would starve before he got around to making up his mind.

Hey, what about GPS and smart phones?

Talk about change, I never had any problem finding the corner store, but seemingly the young and not so young need one to navigate around the local mall these days.   And besides what was wrong with the old paper maps that you could spread across the bonnet of the car and then spend an hour chasing across a paddock after that big gush of wind turned it into a sail?

But they call this progress, change…

On a recent road trip, dubbed “Ocean to the Outback” we visited my mother’s hometown of Bundaberg situated on the east coast to the north of Brisbane. Fay reveled in the visit and we spent time visiting the property that her Grandfather owned and ran cattle on when she was a young girl. “The Springs” as it was known due to a spring fed creek on the property is now a scout camp.

As a young adult she worked in the Metropolitan Hotel in downtown Bourbong Street, the epicenter of the town. Mum insisted we stop, have a beer and a good old-fashioned counter-lunch.

I remember as a kid having a can-of-lunch there. At least that is what I thought they called it. It was a few years later when a cute barmaid in a small country pub fell into stitches of laughter when I ordered a can-of-lunch that I made the discovery; it was a counter-lunch.

But I’m digressing and Janet is peering over my shoulder asking about the cute barmaid…

The Metropole Hotel

There was much reminiscing as Fay walked through “The Met” and we were fortunate to spend some time with the owner who loved to hear about how the pub was in the days gone by.

As we sat down to our can-of-lunch and a few beers, Mum looked around and said that it had all changed, it wasn’t the same anymore, she said. You couldn’t see the old stairs that took you up to the accommodation rooms and the old kitchen had gone.

Sometimes things have the appearance of having changed, but maybe when you delve just below the surface you see that nothing really has changed after all – maybe it is just a matter of perspective!

As I sipped my beer I looked around and thought…

“Surely nothing has changed”

After all the main bar was full of people chatting, laughing, enjoying a meal…

And of course, drinking an ice-cold beer!

I’m betting nothing has changed at “The Met” in the last hundred years…

Do places or life generally really change or just our perspective?

Photos: Baz – The Landy

Red dust in your pants…

Welford Sand Dune

Mountaineering is all about going up, and down mountains, and isn’t that a reflection of life in general!

There are the highs, and the lows…

As many of you will know I have been on a mission to climb amongst the world’s highest mountain peaks and this year I had two trips planned in Nepal.  But isn’t it funny how priorities in your life can change!

Recently I wrote about my sister, Deb (Merle) and the illness she is courageously facing.

Well, I’m pleased to say that her treatment is progressing in line with expectations, but there are good days and not so good days.

But her spirit is amazing!

A couple of weeks back I was sitting on the couch, pondering life in general, as I am inclined to do, and realised that I no longer felt the compelling urge or need to head to Nepal this year, but I wanted to go touring the great Australian Outback with my family…

And yes, I’ve never needed any encouragement to get Out and About – my love of Australia and the Outback is almost as great as the love I share for my family, for Merle…

I know many of you have been “rooting” (that is the US expression isn’t it – makes me chuckle though! ) for me to get up the mountain and I appreciate the support, and who knows, the desire may return, but I have things that have far important to me as a person right now…

I know you will understand.

Hey, that doesn’t mean I can’t go climbing in the Blue Mountains, so there is still some scope for “More Dope on a Rope”.

But strewth, I love the Outback, so I have reset my website back to my other passion!

Photo: Baz – The Landy

A letter to Santa (Strewth!)

Clutch-Bag

Who remembers writing a letter to Santa and posting it to the Big Fella at the North Pole?

 I certainly do and the list was always long…

 Mind you, the wrapping paper or bag the present came in often got more attention than the present itself…

These past few days TomO and I have been getting hints from Janet-Planet about what she would like for Christmas.

Teasing her we said it was completely out of our control and that she should address a letter to Santa, care of the North Pole, ensuring it gave an account of her behaviour throughout the year, a prerequisite for any letter to Santa.

Of course, all along assuring her we would take care of posting it… 😉

Not surprisingly, for behaviour she simply put “exemplary”.

Who are TomO and I to argue the toss on that one; no guessing where most of the mischief in our household has its genesis.

And yes, it is true, Janet-Planet is always on her best behaviour, well mostly, as you would expect from the girl-next-door!

Anyway, we headed to the shopping centre, um, the post-box I mean, with the letter in hand and as we drove TomO went through the list.

It was fairly straightforward really and we’d be out of the shopping centre and back home in record breaking time…

Chanel No 5, tick.

Happy Birthday!

Phew, this shopping for presents is easy right?

There is a very good reason for sticking to a tried and proved formula of buying Chanel No 5 for every possible occasion; Christmas, birthdays, I love you gifts…

Apart from being a lovely gift, it does take a lot of the guesswork out of shopping for a present!

Mind you, the wonderful lady at the Chanel Boutique did throw a curved-ball when she asked if I wanted the “Classic” No 5, or the “Light” version of the eloquently beautiful fragrance…

Crikey, what had I been buying for the past 30-years?

I took a punt on the Classic, after all, Janet-Planet is truly a classic in every sense of the word.

You can’t get it wrong, right?

Wrong…!

Working our way down the list to the final item we were convinced there was some sort of mistake. Surely, this can’t be right?

A “clutch-bag”…

I’m sure we both had that perplexed “boy” look on our faces.

You know, the one that all mums are familiar with…

“Where are my undies I can’t find any” look…

The only “clutch” we know of is in the big truck we use for touring the Australian Outback in and we’ve spent plenty of money on it to make sure that things like “clutches” don’t fail.

The Landy, Outback Australia

But, Janet-Planet is an exceptional person and we thought that maybe she knows something we don’t, after all she has been driving it a lot lately given I’ve “stolen” her car to drive to work in…

And seemingly, she only wanted the “bag” that the new clutch would come in. Each to their own, I guess, but I understood where she was coming from based on my own childhood memories of wrapping paper and presents…

Anyway, I am rabbiting on far too much and risk keeping you from your own Christmas festivities.

So cutting a long story short, here we were, two young men, well one young’un, and another young at heart, standing in the midst of a busy shopping mall, perplexed beyond belief.

Just when all appears lost and we are about to head off to the local motor vehicle spare parts shop a wonderful friend, whom we’ll just call Lisa, recognises the anxiety on our faces and offers to help.

I suspect her credit card had been working harder than a one-arm wallpaper hanger judging by the size of the shopping bags she was carrying. So why not send in mine as a substitute while hers took a rest on the bench?

Anyway, Lisa pointed us in the right direction – an upmarket boutique, assuring us they sell “exquisite clutch-bags”.

Crikey, talk about being confused!

But hey, we’d been thrown a life buoy and we were holding on for grim life despite a flashing thought, perhaps similar to one has when drowning, of what an “upmarket boutique” might do to a credit card…

We headed to that boutique feeling as nervous as a frog in a food blender, after all we still had to choose a clutch-bag, and at that point we were wondering how we let Lisa get away so quickly.

Crikey, I would have bought her one as well if she had come along to help us choose. But perhaps she just needed to go and find a quiet corner of the mall where she could have a good laugh…

Mind you, aren’t we counting our lucky stars that she came across us at that critical time!

Can you imagine, a new clutch for the truck under the Christmas tree, and Janet-Planet receiving the cast off bag it came in for a Christmas present…

I’m sure she would have loved it, that is the person she is, but we boys are hopeful she will like this clutch-bag even more so!

Merry Christmas sweetie…from your boys!

 

Photos: Baz – The Landy

 

Romance – In the South Pacific

Ratua Island

If sipping a cocktail as the sun gently slides below the water and warm balmy nights fanned by a cooling breeze excite you, then Ratua Private Island is the place for you.

 We’ve not long returned from a week on this tropical island paradise where Janet-Planet, TomO and I swam with turtles and lazed in warm turquoise coloured waters, fringed by white sandy beaches and coconut trees.

I even had an encounter with a wonderful marine mammal, a dugong, whilst out on a stand-up-paddle board as the sun was spreading its last rays of light on the day…

The dugong pictured is most likely the same one I saw and was photographed by another guest on the island.

Ratua Island

Yes, it is a long way from the mountains and the Australian Outback, but hey, as long as you are with the ones you love…

And what makes it even more special to visit is its French owner donates all profits to a foundation he set up to fund the education of the children of the surrounding islands.

Photos: Baz – The Landy, and the Dugong courtesy of “Jim” who photographed it during our stay…

Cancer and Courage, our Mount Everest

Mt Aspiring

Courage is a very powerful word when you look behind its meaning…

“…to have courage is to have the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation”.

The word courage has been casually discussed around our dinner table amongst family and close friends in the context of my journey to the mountains, a journey that one day will lead me towards the summit of Mount Everest, fulfilling the dream of a young boy who has always believed that anything is possible –  just believe in that dream!

This week my sister Debbie, who is affectionately known to us as Merle, and I spoke about my journey and what it meant for her. Whilst she is an exceptionally talented musician and accomplished athlete it seems she never got that climbing and mountaineering gene.

And rest assured, I never got that musical gene. If they handed out awards for singing in the shower I’d still go home empty handed.

But as we spoke on the telephone tears rolled silently down my face…

Recently, Deb was diagnosed with cancer, a cancer that has taken a significant hold on her body in a relatively short period of time.

And here she was encouraging me to chase my dream, assuring me that she took great strength from my dream and my journey – and making me promise that no matter what happens to her that I must continue on my journey.

As we spoke she explained that the cancer that has infected her precious body is her own Mount Everest.

She reached out and said…

“Baz, take my hand and we will climb our own Mount Everest together, one step at a time, for that is the only way”.

Deb, Merle sent the following note to her many friends recently and I want to share it with you. I’m hopeful that it will inspire, inspire those who perhaps face their own Mount Everest…

Yes, courage is a very powerful word and I learnt its true meaning this week…

 The Beginning of a New Chapter

By “Merle”

A wonderful sister...
Merle, A  beautiful sister…

I am beginning a very important journey. So much to achieve, new directions to take, challenges to overcome, happiness to be found….endless opportunities to grab hold of. A time to redefine, evolve and embrace life to the fullest.

With the love and support of my family and dear friends, long standing and new, it will hopefully be a celebration of the human spirit that lives within us all. I am blessed that I have today and the time to make each moment count… moments that we can reflect and smile upon. Moments of “BEING” whatever that may be and wherever it may takes us.

I will be taking each precious day at a time and endeavouring to seek all the happiness and joy each of them bring. I will be promoting and encouraging all who know me to do the same. My one wish and only wish is for everyone to not focus on the disease (that is the doctor’s job) it is what it is. Find the love, joy, precious “ididocic” (idiotic) moments filled with laughter and all the happiness in the world during this time. NOT EASY…CHALLENGES NEVER ARE…DEFINITELY DOABLE!!!!

I understand this is a big ask for all who stand on the perimeter of watching someone they love go through this. To me, it is counter-productive to dissect and try to analyse and make sense of this disease consuming my body. It would obscure the human spirit that defines ME as a person…I am most afraid of losing sight of who I am in all this. If you can help, it would be beneficial not only for me, but ALL of us, please participate however and in whatever way you can to… HELP ME…REMIND ME…REMEMBER AND ENHANCE THE MEMORIES!!! For after all, this chapter is NOT ALL ABOUT ME. It is about ALL of us and what we gain from this experience.

CONFRONTING…yes, very much so. If not confronted we have not the opportunity to overcome this.

SCARY…mmmm!!! I imagine it could be at times. I do believe, always have, that knowledge and sharing is powerful. The understanding gained and shared puts things in perspective and allows you to take away or minimise the “scariness” to some degree.

SAD….definitely, we will all feel it. Sadness is a positive emotion, I believe it shows how much we truly treasure, connect and love each other. It is an emotion to not hide…we cannot be BRAVE all the time, that would be counter-productive, and we would go insane. Release the tears, smile and begin again.

“IDIDOCIC” MOMENTS…Yes please, lots and lots of them!!!   Also remember past “ididocic” experiences and share with everyone who will listen. Laugh, BIG belly laughs and rejoice!!!!

I am looking forward to the moments we will all share and I am truly blessed, humbled and consider myself the most fortunate person on this earth to have such beautiful people in my life. Thank you for being you and hold on…this journey is going to be a big one with lots of opportunities.

Love Merle x x x

Simplicity, the greatest luxury of all…

And what better setting could there be to float away in a lover’s dream…than a remote South Pacific Island?

 

Photos: Baz – The Landy, on Ratua Private Island, Vanuatu.

Yes Sir, No Sir…how high Sir!

TomOTomO is at Holsworthy Army Barracks for a few days of military experience. 

As part of his school curriculum he does military cadets and is keen to advance to a full military career in the future…

He loves the adventure and camaraderie, so good luck mate!

Photo: Janet-Planet