Happy New Year from a very hot, very dry Mypolonga, Murray Bridge.
Stunning That's how I would sum up our current destination. Mollie and I are staying with an old friend of mine from Balwearie, Janet and her husband in their gorgeous home an hour north of Adelaide. It is well off the beaten track, nothing else around them and is almost self sufficient. It is amazing.
Janet and Hans actually built it themselves and it is by no means finished but you can see what they are trying to achieve and they are doing it themselves.
About 2 years ago Janet and Hans were running there own Rose business. They were running it from their 20acre plot they had purchased in order to get the business going. However, as I'm discovering water is a major focal point out here. Us scots we like to discuss the weather. Aussies in south Adelaide like to discuss the water levels which is fair enough. Janet and Hans had been running the business for a few years when the government then changed their water allowance for the business. They had been running it on 20% but the government or water authorities were playing with their figures each year until finally 18 months ago they cut it to 7%, of what I don't know but it wasn't enough to run a Rose business!! so stress levels dictated that they gave up. Hans returned to uni to do studying in water management and works in a water recycling plant and Janet does Rose budding or grafting I think it's called. Anyway, the pair of them work blooming hard to achieve what they have here.
Mollie and I have thoroughly enjoyed touring round their garden (there are no roses now!) Janet grows; cucumbers, tomatoes, courgettes, pomegranates, peaches, onions, garlic, strawberries, raspberries, grapes, figs and countless other things that I can't remember. Mollie loves going into the garden and picking things with Janet's two girls Amber and Isla. Then they see it before them on the table that day.
Mollie has thoroughly enjoyed playing with the two girls and I'm glad we made this stop. She has had the chance to have fun instead of being dragged round the country with me. It has taken a bit of the pressure off of myself a bit too.
So what have we been up to? Well the weather does dictate what you can and can't do sadly. When we first arrived the temperatures were lovely. High 20s during the day and clear skies at night so the heat disappeared. However this didn't last long and since Hogmanay we have had 40+ degrees which is not nice. It's too hot outside by mid morning. The best part of the day is first thing in the morning and then by 11am it is way too hot to do anything though the girls have been jumping in and out of the pool in the garden. By 3pm the heat has drained the girls (and us) and so it really is time to sit and do very little. Either DVD or craft stuff. Everyone gets pretty cranky when it heats up. One day we experienced not only the heat from the sun but a hairdryer effect wind too! That was bad. Every time I walked out the door to see to the chucks or help with washing it was like opening the door to a hairdryer blowing in.
We have travelled to a couple of places around the area including Murray Bridge which is the equivalent to Elgin (on a much smaller scale though!) The other big thing in this area is the Murray River which has loads of activity in/on it. Janet took us there for a day last week when the temperatures were just beginning to lift. It gave the girls a chance to jump in and out of it. Whilst there we saw loads of activities; jet skies, boats, water skiing, wake boarding, big inflatable things! Lots of families had made it a day trip bringing down BBQs tables and chairs! Brill.
Hogmanay was a worry for a wee while as I wasn't sure if we would make the bells as with the heat and using so much energy in the heat it fairly pants you! However we did make it and Hans, Janet and myself sat and talked into the night only to hear the fireworks going off in the distance which indicated a new year had started - for Australia at least. It was quite weird to be one of the first to be starting the year. Normally I'm at home watching the Aussie celebrations on the tv. Not this year though! Not quite at Sydney harbour though but nevertheless equally as good if not better. Good wine, good company. Bliss. Hans did state his own new years resolutions and so did Janet. I was asked and said I don't normally make them but on this occasion I will settle for just looking forward - not back.
Today, Tuesday 3rd we headed to a place called Mannum which is further down the river. The girls had a fab time playing in the play park, playing with the bubble wands that we bought them and gymnastics stuff which is my input lol. Lots of cartwheels, handstands and round offs. Three happy girls. Mollies cartwheels have improved no end! When we got back in the car I read 42degrees on the car dashboard. Ouch!!
This evening Hans took Mollie and I about 15mins further inland to a vast open bushland area where we saw kangaroos in the wild. Yayyyyyy! First a couple jumped across our path and then we saw around three poking their heads up in the long grass before we spotted one under the tree. He watched us for ages before hopping off. Mollie was delighted.
This part of our trip has been inspirational as well as a chance to take stock. I have enjoyed many a night chatting outside with Janet and Hans (witha nice glass of Marlborough) talking well into the night. Have I watched any television in the week we have been here? Nope. Not one bit. Mollie has eaten all of her food including the fruit and veg on her plate. At least half of it has come from the garden which I suspect has helped. We have also enjoyed many a day out and about in the area whilst the girls play, run and laugh. When it was too hot yesterday we headed to the tenpin bowling place at Murray Bridge which was ace. Guess who won? Not me! Mollie won. Seriously! She was delighted. There is one downside to living in the country in this area and it is of course those things with 8 legs. Believe it or not the main one in this area which is dangerous butnyou nevr see is the red back. However, as I said you never see it but you do see other kinds. Big hairy ones which look way more frightening than they are and millipedes and earwigs. I can handle them. But the things with 8 legs - never. Janet is getting used to my screams!
I'm not sure there is anything else I can say about this part of our trip. It has been fantastic to catch up with Janet. In some ways she hasn't changed a bit but in others she has changed so much. I am in awe of what she and Hans have got here and so glad we have had a chance to be part of it. There isn't one night I have not fallen in to my bed and gone to sleep within minutes of hitting it. That's why it has taken me so long to get this bit written lol.
I have already booked our flights on for the next part of our journey. On Friday 6th catch a plane back to Melbourne. I'm hoping to get tickets for the Australian open whilst we are there. Oooooh Andy Murray watch out. I just might be there with the old face paint on. Or then again I just might be there cheering him on! That would be good. Right, I'm exhausted. You know where I'm off to!