Australia Day

I’m always glad of a free day off work, but I have to say it was very strange having a Thursday off for Australia Day. Wednedsay night felt like a Friday, except not really, because there was another work day before the real weekend …

After heading out on the town on Wednesday night with Andrea, Viv and Rachel for a few drinks, it was over to Fabio’s for celebratory lunch and wine. In our group, we had: four Brazilians, an American, two English and one Welsh – not an Aussie among us, didn’t stop us celebrating on their behalf though :)

We had a delicious chilli cooked by Enif, with tortillas and tacos – we all ate far too much, it was sooooo good, and coupled with a glass or two of wine, I was fairly sleepy by around five pm!

Andrea and I went to the beach a bit later but I couldn’t be bothered to surf, I can’t stay on my board at the best of times, let alone when I’m tired and tipsy. She’s getting really good though, standing up and everything, leaving me way behind at the bottom of the class …

I finished the day with a very light dinner and an early(ish) night … only one more day to the real weekend!

Happy Australia Day :)

Australia Day

I’m always glad of a free day off work, but I have to say it was very strange having a Thursday off for Australia Day. Wednedsay night felt like a Friday, except not really, because there was another work day before the real weekend …

After heading out on the town on Wednesday night with Andrea, Viv and Rachel for a few drinks, it was over to Fabio’s for celebratory lunch and wine. In our group, we had: four Brazilians, an American, two English and one Welsh – not an Aussie among us, didn’t stop us celebrating on their behalf though :)

We had a delicious chilli cooked by Enif, with tortillas and tacos – we all ate far too much, it was sooooo good, and coupled with a glass or two of wine, I was fairly sleepy by around five pm!

Andrea and I went to the beach a bit later but I couldn’t be bothered to surf, I can’t stay on my board at the best of times, let alone when I’m tired and tipsy. She’s getting really good though, standing up and everything, leaving me way behind at the bottom of the class …

I finished the day with a very light dinner and an early(ish) night … only one more day to the real weekend!

Happy Australia Day :)

Pre-Australia Day Party!

With Australia Day fast approaching, Lucy – a friend I met through Rachel, who lives in an apartment in Queenscliff with the most amazing views of the beach – was organising a Pre-Australia Day party. It would be themed, we had to come wearing a flag.

I decided I was up for the challenge, and luckily found some flags in the post office a few weeks ago. I decided to make a long dress by sewing them together and putting elastic around the top, in the handy pocket already sewn into the flags :) It took longer than I had thought since I had to do it all by hand, especially as the flags turned out to be so long I had to hem it up about six inches, but I was pretty happy with the results. At first the dress was really baggy, but a few quickly sewn darts around the waist did the trick and it didn’t look bad at all. I finished it off with red ribbons around the waist and to hold it up with a halter top. It was a great opportunity for some blue eyeshadow and red lipstick to finish the outfit off!

My home made dress!

The party was a lot of fun, especially seeing everybody wearing flags – Lucy had temporary tattoos of the flag to share, and they had decorated the windows of the house with drawings of the opera house and Sydney Harbour Bridge. Most of the girls had used the flag as a dress, the boys had a tougher time, but there were some fun outfits!

I might even wear the dress out on Australia day as well!

An update on my herb garden.

After spending ages clearing out the top of my garden and potting herbs, tomatoes and a chilli plant, I headed out to stay with Yolly … without realising I’d be away for two weeks. Without being watered except for the rain, and some pretty strong sunshine, not all of them fared too well.

I returned to find the coriander (both mine and, unfortunately, Andreas, which I was supposed to be herb-sitting) were burned out and dead. My lemon thyme was brown but looked like it had a slim chance of recovery, but sadly despite copious watering and plant food, it was not to be.

The herb garden now

The chilli plant, basil and mint looked very sorry for themselves, the leaves had thinned out and some were withering, but they were still in with a chance. The chilli did seem to have loads of fruit on it. The tomatoes, on the other hand, were loving it – they’d shot up and were sprouting bushy leaves all over the place. So it wasn’t all bad.

The basil has made a pretty good recovery

The mint still looks a bit sorry for itself

Lots of fruit on the chilli plant

I lost no time in watering them, and happily by the next day the chilli, basil and mint had all perked up a little. Over the last two weeks since I’ve been home, thanks to the combination of regular watering, a little plant food and some good weather, the chilli and basil are now looking fantastic again. The mint still looks slightly sorry for itself … apparently it prefers partial shade, so perhaps I’ll move it to a different part of the garden and see if that helps. I repotted it yesterday into a new pot that has holes in the bottom, since the old one was looking quite flooded when it rained.

The tomatoes continue to flourish, they have quite a few flowers on, and yesterday I found my first actual tomato growing! I’m hopeful for some tasty salads before too long.

Beetroot seedlings

My first two tomatoes!

Tomato plants are doing fantastically well

I’ve replaced the coriander and added parsley, and I decided to try growing something from scratch, so I planted a row of beetroot seeds and some capsicum (pepper) plants in long pots. The capsicum hasn’t shown any signs of life yet, but the beetroot seedlings are starting to poke up.

I’m really enjoying being able to use what I’m growing, especially the basil in salads and mint for tea, and it’s great seeing the plants grow, so I do have plans to grow more. I’ve got my sights set on some rocket, cherry tomatoes and maybe garlic for the next step, and I’ve also started working on clearing out some of the weeds from the lower part of the garden. Maybe for spring, we can have some pots of daffodils and spring flowers, which have always been my favourites at that time of year.

Seal Rocks.

When I got back from Fraser Island and went back to work on Tuesday, my first job was to book the following Friday off for the next adventure. Andrea had invited me to go to Seal Rocks with her friend Jamie, visiting from Chicago. Work approved, so the girl’s road trip was on!

Chilling on the balcony with wine

View from the house

When we first arrived

Andrea and I headed out on Friday morning to pick the rental car up from Brookvale, then packed it with all of our cases – I had definitely not packed sensibly, with little time to decide what to bring and less restriction on space, I threw everything I thought I might like to have into the case (then added a few more things) – it was definitely on the large and heavy side for a weekend bag.

We started off at Harris Farms, stocking up on snacks and veggies for dinner. It looked like a lot of food – yum! By the time we set off to find the highway, it was about midday – definitely a nice, relaxed start. Andrea set out to drive the first part of the journey, I was DJ’ing and navigating, and Jamie snoozed in the back seat. We hit the Pacific Highway, and the driving quickly grew dull … after a couple of hours, Andrea was ready for a break.

Swinging in the hammock chair

Now I haven’t driven since arriving in Australia, and the car was an automatic (I’m used to a manual), so I shouldn’t really be too surprised at what happened next. With the car parked up at the services, I tried to reverse it out with my left foot on the brake, pushing it like a clutch … yeah, there was some pretty heavy braking going on until I figured out what I was doing wrong and managed – somehow – to get the car out of the parking space. Andrea was about ready to take over again, but I was determined to recover some of my reputation – we continued up the ramp, and luckily things started to improve.

The last part of the drive was up a narrow road, where the tarmac surface quickly petered out into gravel. It was windy and full of hills, surrounded by beautiful forest. The house itself was set in the middle of a relatively large garden, surrounded by a wooden deck, with a chicken coop and plenty of trees. If the view from the front was pretty, the back was beautiful – the landscape stretched out before us with the sea just visible in the far background.

Inside, the house had two double bedrooms and two lofts … one was small and full of toys, but the other was big enough to sleep in. Jamie was keen to take the loft, until she realised it only had a blow up bed … there was also a massive bathroom with a corner jacuzzi bath.

Jamie wanted to sleep in the loft

Chilling again


We didn’t waste much time in getting down to the serious business of chilling out with wine and nibbles, watching the sky darken across the view from the deck, and swaying on the hammock chair that Andrea hung up. For dinner, Andrea made an amazing beetroot risotto, and the wine continued, until we were all sleepy and headed to bed.

Yummy beetroot risotto

Saturday, Jamie bounced out of bed early, and enjoyed the morning sun on the deck. By the time I emerged, she was excited at having seen a small kangaroo hop across the back garden. We’re not sure if it was actually a wallaby, but either way, this is definitely not a normal occurrance back home! Both Jamie and Andrea went out for runs, but I was feeling too lazy so I curled up with Harry Potter and breakfast. We did all do a little bit of yoga in the back garden, it was such an amazing place to do it … although the odd ant running up my leg did interfere a little bit with my breathing.

In the afternoon, we headed out to find a beach! Yay beach! We took a huge coolbox of snacks and BEER (yay beer!), and drove along the coast until we found a beautiful, white sandy beach just waiting for us to spread our towels out on it. The ocean was warm and fairly calm, no waves to play in, just nice and chilled. Andrea had blue zinc, which she decided to use as lipstick – it was very fetching …

Girls by the beach

Chill-axing on the beach

Beautiful beach

We headed out for a snorkel, the water was pretty clear and not too deep, maybe up to five metres. There were lots of small stripy fish, and then I saw a turtle! On the way back, there was a small puffer fish, but Andrea and Jamie were too far away to shout them over.

After a couple of hours, we were ready to move on and see something else, so we headed a little way up the road to Sugarloaf Point, to see the lighthouse there. It was a short walk through a bit of forest, with a steep hill at the end up to the lighthouse itself. The views were – as expected – pretty incredible, and we could see out to the actual Seal Rocks. We all took loads of photos, then it was back down, and back home for dinner on the barbie!

Light house

A walk in the woods

Rocky view

As we pulled up through the gate, the kangaroo/wallaby was back! He regarded us curiously from the other side of the fence before hopping off to the bushes, where he stayed in view and posed for our cameras. Amazing.

We chopped up heaps of veggies and some meat for kebabs, then speared our own to put on the barbie … couldn’t remember whose was whose though when they came off, except that Jamie’s were all vegetarian. Andrea demonstrated the correct way to eat corn, by cooking it with the leaves on, then peeling them back to hold while you chew. Maybe it’s a Texas thing … either way, there was plenty of food and plenty of wine, and it was just an awesome evening sitting out on the deck with nobody else around. There was a strange, sweet scent somewhere, we all thought it was each other, I still have no idea if it was a plant and which one.

The chef

We decided to try the jacuzzi after dinner, so we all crowded in to enjoy the bubbles! It was just big enough for all three of us, and of course we had to bring our glasses of wine.

Girls night in!

Sunday we were determined to get moving more quickly, since we were heading back in the afternoon. First stop would be the nudist beach – a new experience for me and I think also Jamie, although Andrea had been there before. I felt quite overdressed … we didn’t stay too long, just enough time for a dip in the ocean again. The beach was amazingly steep, so within a few steps we were already up to our necks in water, I didn’t feel very safe going too far out, but there were some fun waves to play in.

Beer on the beach!

Andrea and Jamie having fun in the sea

We moved on to Elizabeth Beach, where we had lunch, finished our last beers, and played some more in the waves … the sea there was the opposite, a long walk out before it even reached over my knees. The weather was perfect, sunny and warm, a few clouds just to take the heat away from time to time. All too soon, it was time for the long drive home again …

The weekend wasn’t quite finished though, despite spending three days in each others’ company we all decided to meet up at The Space bar later in the evening for a Sunday night beverage or three. The weather was beginning to turn though, with rain spattering us on the way home and the promise of a thunderstorm to come. After a quick change I was heading back out, but already there was lightning cracking across the sky and I was glad to reach Andrea’s place before the storm kicked in. It took it’s time, with thunder and lightning battling overhead for an hour or so before the rain hit … but wow, did it hit. We debated going to the bar and nearly didn’t (I was in favour of it, given I had to go out either way anyway!), and eventually decided to take the car, we still got drenched even with umbrellas, and that was just on the few steps from the door to the car. It was more of a paddle to get from the car park to the bar, but at last we were there!

A few glasses of wine later and it was time to call it a night … luckily the rain had calmed down, but I walked home along the beach and got wet in the ocean anyway. If only all weekends were this good …!

Fraser Island Reflections

As our last night on Fraser Island draws to a close, I wonder how it’s possible to feel so happy and sad all at once. It’s been amazing – so many new experiences for me – and probably life-changing. I would never have guessed I’d spend nearly two weeks in the company of children under the age of two, and come away feeling so relaxed and chilled out. That’s probably partly because it’s such a change from my normal life, but for whatever reason it’s opened my eyes for the first time properly to the joys of a young family, and it’s the first time I can remember truly wanting one of my own. I’ve even got pretty good at putting nappies on (haven’t had to face the poo though).

As I write this, I haven’t quite finished putting together all of the blog posts I’m hoping to, so it’s strange in a way that I’m writing the end before the middle. Even as I’ve been trying to document the days I’ve spent here, there are so many things that have become almost every day, and escaped the day to day records. So many precious memories that can’t be captured as a single moment, but that I will look back on and long for when I return to life in Sydney. I wanted to take the time to try and capture the spirit of this trip, because while I’ve been here, Fraser Island has certainly captured some of my spirit.

The days here start when I slowly become aware of the roar of the ocean, or occasionally the patter of rain on my tent. I have time to wake up slowly and appreciate nature all around me. Through the thin walls of my tent, I soon hear the noise of the others, until I know that Yolly and the girls are up, then it’s time to stretch and emerge.

Mya usually greets me with a hug around my knees, her hair is a cloud of blond tangles as she looks up and says “Good morning, Jo”, and I wonder if there’s a better way to start the day than this. If the sun is out, I can walk across the dunes and watch it dance across the breaking waves.

I brush my teeth outside in the grass with a cup of water. The kids eat their breakfast and Ivy ends up wearing part of hers, then it’s our turn to eat, we sit outside, with tea and food cooked on the tiny gas stoves inside the tent.

Part of the day is usually spent chilling under the tarp with my kindle, or playing in the waves. Sometimes I get to hold Ivy’s tiny hands – or rather, she wraps her fingers around mine – and walk her around. Sometimes, I go out into the ocean with Yolly and we swing the girls in the waves while they giggle. Mya is a gorgeous little angel, but when baby Ivy smiles and laughs, it’s magical. Sometimes Mya comes over, wraps her little arms around me, and says, “Hello, Jo”.

The sand gets everywhere. It sticks to our feet, it blows into our faces, it invades our food and it sneaks into our beds. It doesn’t matter how much we sweep, every day, it’s always there. I tried not to fight it, that would be a losing battle, but sometimes it’s hard to ignore the crunch. It does have its up side though: it brushes our skin soft as silk, warms (and sometimes burns) our feet as we walk across it. Soft and dry, it’s nearly impossible to walk in, and it’s a miracle to see the life that survives here.

There are no mirrors in the tents. I can’t see how bad my hair looks and I haven’t even thought about make up since I got here. I’ve worn the same thongs (flip flops!) all week – when I bother to wear shoes – and bummed around in my bikini most of the week. It’s liberating to not have to worry about any of that.

Most days involve getting in the car to go somewhere. Driving over the beach is the best part, since anywhere else is spectacularly bumpy. I still hold on and try to hold in the gulps, but over the worst bumps, sometimes I let out a girly shriek. The first drives were terrifying, but somehow now it doesn’t seem quite so bad. Yolly and I try to take turns to sit in the back with the girls. I feed them far too much sugar. Mya has learned to say “Peas, Jo” (she can’t quite master ‘L’ yet) to get pretty much anything she wants. Ivy loves chocolate, she loves to spread it all over her face and laugh about it, and we love to photograph her when she does it.

The days end with the light slowly fading over the tarp, while I swig a glass or three of wine, and Yolly and Casey feed and shower the girls. The shower is still an amazement: a small ensuite tent with a shower hose. When they’re all clean, it’s stories, cuddles and bed. We’re not usually that far behind, and I fall asleep quickly while I’m trying to hold on to the sound of the outside as long as possible. Tonight, that will be especially true as it will be the last one. On the plus side, I now own the tent and am already planning my next camping trip, as well as my next trip back to Fernvale.

I can’t pretend I won’t be happy to get back to some of my home comforts … mainly those in the bathroom! But I will miss Yolly, Casey and the girls terribly, as well as all of the others who shared our holiday here. I’ll miss the chilled out atmosphere of the last ten days or so. I’m so glad that I decided to come, and so grateful to Yolly and Casey for sharing their holiday (and everything else!) with me – because it really has been totally amazing!

The long trip home.

Apparently, we got up at 5:30 on Monday morning to start packing. I didn’t really take much notice of the time anymore, but it seemed to take ages to pack up. I caught sight of Casey’s watch as we left and it was only 9:30 – I had thought it was nearer midday!

I couldn’t believe how full the trailer and car still were – we’d eaten loads of the food we’d brought along, surely there should have been more room? Still, we all fitted in somehow, and finally we were off. Things got off to a bit of a rocky start when we took the road up and around the rocks, and a frustrated bus driver on the other side tried to block Casey from coming out. He’d been waiting a while to get through the single track road, but the rangers were waving everybody through from our side, and he finally got annoyed enough to try and stop people. It wasn’t very helpful, considering we were already through, luckily he let us out …

As we drew closer to the barge pick up point, there was a huge queue of cars. The two barges take around ten at a time, but they’re so efficient, and it’s only a short round trip, maybe fifteen minutes in all. We had long enough to enjoy a morning beer while we were waiting though – might as well stretch the holiday out as long as possible :)

We stopped in Rainbow in another queue, to put air back into the soft tyres before getting back on the roads. I had my first Gaytime ice cream, I’d been looking for them in Eurong and Happy Valley all week but they hadn’t had any. It was amazing, and I shared bits of it with Ivy – she was so cute trying to eat the last bits off of the stick, and so messy too.

The rest of the journey was fairly boring, roads weren’t as much fun as driving on the beach. We tried to play I Spy, and Yolly got us stumped with “Bonnet” – it doesn’t really last very long though.

Finally, we made it home, with just enough time for a quick shower before I had to leave to get my flight home. Boooo! The girls weren’t thrilled at being strapped back into the car, but Yolly distracted them with the Christmas presents they hadn’t been able to fit in to take to the beach. Mya unwrapped a gorgeous little swimsuit and some ink stamps, and amused herself trying on Ivy’s new shoes during the drive.

As we reached the airport, she had been suspiciously quiet. I turned around to see her hands covered in blue ink from the stamps, with a big smudge on her nose – she looked so cute, I couldn’t stop laughing – I wish I’d taken a photo before we cleaned it off, because of all the funny things she does, that one definitely got me the most.

At the check in desk, my suitcase and tent together weighed in at a smidgen over 23kg, and I was delighted that I could take both of them home! The dramas weren’t quite over though – my flight was delayed due to a late arrival, which turned out to have an engineering fault. As they announced the change of gate, they were also looking for six volunteers to take a flight the next day. I was going to do it, they were offering a full refund plus accommodation and flight home, I would get a nice early night and a bit of money in my pocket instead of arriving home at midnight! It turned out they found a bigger plane after all then – I don’t think I was the only disappointed one, I heard other passengers who had been wanting the same.

Finally, finally we were in the air and on our way home. With ten minutes to go, they announced that we were going to try and land before the 11pm curfew at Sydney airport, to avoid being diverted. I crossed my fingers that we weren’t going to be heading BACK to Brisbane … that would have been awful, but happily we were soon landing, and heading through the airport. I collapsed into a taxi, blow the cost, there were no ferries anyway and I couldn’t be bothered to mess about with buses and trains – this holiday deserved to be finished off in style!

A Happy New Year.

New Year’s Eve was another beautiful day, and another good day for a drive. This time we were headed out to Champagne Pools, on the coast further up Fraser Island. The drive was mostly across the beach, but we would have to cross a sand blow, where many people apparently got bogged (stuck in sand) in their cars.

Driving across the sand

Adjusting tyres for soft sand is boys work

Put that thing away!

Tides were smaller and the sand on the beach was drying out, and driving wasn’t as smooth as the nice wet sand at a big low tide, so we were all getting thrown around. The girls didn’t seem bothered at all, they either slept or giggled through the bumps.

As we approached the sand blow, we stopped to let the tyres on the car down a little further, to cope better with the soft sand. I was actually getting a bit apprehensive and excited, but the whole thing turned out to be a big anti climax – the path had been boarded and was far shorter than I’d thought, so we were through with no problems in no time at all!

Champagne Pools turned out to be closer than we’d thought, so much so that everybody kept driving up the track until we realised we should turn around and go back. A short walk through the trees, and there were beautiful views across the water and down, into a rocky pool washed over by the waves, the abundance of white foam giving it its name. The tide was high, and although we all wanted to go and cool off in the water, it was too dangerous for the little ones. We explored for a while, then we were off – this time, heading for the very end of the island.

Champagne pools from above

A little further along the beach, and we had to take a detour around more crazy rocks. It was only a short way up the track that we came to a steep part of the track with a sharp bend at the top – Yolly jumped out to video, as Anthony finally got up on his fifth attempt. Casey and Phil managed it in two – they must have learned from watching him! We carried on for a while, but eventually got to a part of the beach that we just couldn’t get across, so turned around to go back. Going back along the same track, and going back up that hill, at the point where we crested it I couldn’t see anything out of the window except sky. I think I closed my eyes.

4x4 driving

Along the way, we found a great spot to stop, with a big rock pool full of sun-warmed seawater, and plenty of space to park and set up a picnic. I had my first proper try at fishing – Casey had showed me briefly how to swing the rod to cast a line, and now I had a go at baiting the hook with a bit of sandworm. I was proud of the job I did – it was definitely far better than my attempts at fishing! The only thing I caught was Casey’s line … oh well, the others weren’t doing much better, they caught one or two very small fish but nothing worth eating.

I learned to bait a hook

Ivy loves the water

Quackers has a swim too

On the way back to camp, we stopped at Ely Creek for a swim, in water I was promised was “icy cold”!

When we reached the creek, there were loads of people playing in it, and I wondered how they could stand it if it was as cold as all that. There was a pool of murky water alongside it, and I dipped a toe in cautiously, only to find it was like a warm bath! Apparently that wasn’t the cold bit though – the creek is all freshwater, fed by springs from further up in the hills of the island. It flows down to the ocean, and a fun thing to do is to float down it from the furthest point we could go to.

Yolly was too cold to go in, so she and Steph wandered up the path while the rest of us waded up the creek. It wasn’t very deep, mostly up to my knees, and it was definitely colder than the ocean but “icy” would have been a small exaggeration :) That said … getting the top half of my body under that water made me shriek a bit, when it was time to turn around and float back! Once we were in though, it wasn’t bad at all – it was shallow enough to use hands on the bottom to keep ourselves afloat, and move gently with the current.

Floating down the river!

Tyler and Mya get in the water

Walking up the creek

After the creek, the warm pool next to it felt even more like a hot bath! I paddled through it back to the car, and it was off home again. Tonight, we’d all be getting into party mode for New Year’s Eve!

There was plenty of beer and wine flowing, and that wasn’t all – Ploy made up three cups of Jaeger cocktails, with Red Bull and passed them to me and Yolly. “One of them is about half Jaeger …” she said – well, guess who got that one! Luckily Yolly was on form and finished most of it for me – bleurgh! We gave the kids sparklers before they went off to bed – at first, Mya was a bit unsure, but she soon wanted more of them.

As the night progressed, we were getting sillier – I was almost falling asleep, so got a small crab thrown at me (I managed not to get too girly about it). At midnight, our neighbours lit fireworks on the beach – well, three, anyway. I think I prefer that to a long, noisy display though! Steph had woken up in time for midnight, and we all wished each other a happy new year, then I couldn’t stay awake any more – what a lightweight.

New Year’s Day was pretty chilled. We went to Ely Creek again, but I couldn’t bring myself to get into the cold water again. Anthony dug a hole in the sand near the bank, and the kids played in it, then they caught a small fish flopping around in it. I took advantage of the chairs under the shade of the marquee we’d brought to catch up with Harry Potter on my Kindle and top up my tan, while munching on sweets … lovely!

Finally caught one!

All too soon, the last day was over. Phil and Ploy had already left earlier in the morning, and I snuggled into my tent. It was sad that it was almost all over, but it had been such a good two weeks I couldn’t feel too bad. Plus, there was still the long drive home across the beach to look forward to :)

Sliding down a sand blow.

Friday was boiling hot and sunny, and we were heading out for a walk. This didn’t quite fit in with my “lazy trip to the beach” theme, but I thought I’d better go, especially given all the yummy junk food I was eating …

We drove a few K’s along the beach and parked up (not on the dunes, since apparently, there is a $25,000 fine for driving on them – ouch!) Yolly strapped Ivy on in the baby carrier, and she was off like a rocket, stomping up the path through the woods. I couldn’t keep up, and neither could Steph with her 7-month baby bump, or Mya in her tiny bare feet!

It wasn’t very long before we came out facing a sandy, pebbly hill, and from the top of it we could see across to another hill, larger, steep and sandy. Like fresh snow on a ski slope, it was almost pristine, smooth soft sand except for one track of footprints. Casey told me this was a sand blow.

Casey and Anthony had brought along a wooden board that looked like a small body board, and they were off already up the hill, dragging it with them. One by one, we followed. The soft sand tried its hardest to make life difficult, slipping beneath our feet – I tried to follow in other people’s footsteps, like stairs, which was a bit less slippy. I didn’t want to go back down once I got up, in case I had to come up again!

Anthony was first to try sliding down the hill. He tried a few times standing up – at first it looked terrifying, but the sand was actually quite wet and the board slid fairly slowly.

Phil was next, and he opted for the head first position, which was a lot more successful, and he had probably one of the best slides of the day, right over Ploy’s towel where she was watching from the bottom. Then the fun bit, he had to drag the board back up for the next person …

I was persuaded to have a go too, but I was fairly hopeless. I didn’t quite have the guts to have a running start like the guys, so I had to use my hands to paddle my way down the slower bits, although I did get a half-decent slide towards the end. The track grew more and more cut up from people climbing back up, kids running across it, and some of the more hopeless sliders among us. The sand underneath, still wet from yesterday’s rain, wasn’t really much good for sliding on, and after a while we had to give up. The guys had one last run on a fresh part of the hill, Anthony cut an impressive path through a bush, and Yolly and Mya climbed up and slid down on their bums.

As we headed off, the hill was covered in holes, footprints and flattened tracks! I’m pretty sure though that after a few hours of the sun drying the sand out and the wind rearranging it, it would have looked like we were never there.

We headed home for some lunch, and a sleep for the kids. Quite enough exercise for one day, I decided, and collapsed on the chair with my Kindle.

(No photos for today … the camera stayed in the car, sadly!)