Thursday, 27 February 2014

We are the Uys Huis

In the beginning there was nothing but a Man, a Woman, a Girl, a Boy and a campertrailer called the S.S. Uys Huis (House).

Then there were camping chairs, melamine plates, solar powered lights and nifty gadgets that folded down to nothing and back up to something, well, nifty and these gadgets (so I have been told) were totally necessary.
Now we are officially on our Big Trip (March 1st 2014): the circumnavigation of Australia, a country twice the size of Europe, around 16,500kms of coastline... And us, a little family hoping to see some of it with a modicum of composure.

We've begun our journey on the Far North Coast of New South Wales and will travel North up to Karumba through March and April. May will see us in Darwin.

Anyway, stay tuned for the Life and Times of the SS Uys Huis has begun.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

The truth.

I’d like to start this belated post with a huge dose of happiness, a sense of wellbeing, the feeling of absolute elation as I look down the barrel of ten months holiday with just a smidge of smugness that it’s all happening. However, this post is not a Facebook update so what I’m actually going to start with is a big fat “Faaaarrrcccckkkk!!!!” as I swill down a glass of wine and sit in the stink of my unwashed self. Getting a visual?

Yes, the house WILL be rented on time. Yes, we WILL fit everything necessary into the van. Yes, I WILL have the house cleaned and empty in a week’s time. Yes, my children WILL be ever so helpful and play quietly in a corner with something which creates absolutely no mess or noise.  I do actually believe and feel all of this (except the last thing: that’s for everyone who has ever tried to clean/pack/organise anything with a sense of urgency and 2 small children in a 500m radius- we all need a laugh) will be achieved, but the getting to that point has been pretty ordinary. No one loves moving, but like all necessary evils, it is, well, necessary.

So anyway, we’re still looking for the perfect (read: any) tenant, there are still boxes standing around and everything is pretty filthy. But we did start to throw, and I mean that in the literal sense, gear into the van; the walls and cupboards are beginning to look bare and our wheelie bin has been chockas with crap from The Cleanse every week for the last month. Actually our neighbour’s bin has been pretty full too- thanks Brinkers! So things are moving in the right direction. Except for our bank account.

I watched with interest some Grey Nomads on The Project having a whinge about the demise of free camping spots in Victoria.  Essentially, millions of dollars are spent maintaining these campgrounds each year and the newly elected Napthine Government has sniffed this out. So we’ll probably be paying $19 a night to camp in what was a free site. All other campsite charges are going up a few dollars a night as well, which I didn’t think was such a bad thing since this should pay for the maintenance and perhaps addition of camping facilities. But now, having blown out on a baby hiking carrier, a dual battery pack for our fridge in the car, organisational paraphernalia for inside the van etc etc, those free camping sites are starting to look pretty sweet. So did the cleaners who were going to be doing the final clean of our vacant home… I need to buy some gloves and a mask. Please refer to the categories about being a lazy mole listed in the Cleaning Blinds post.

So while the here and now of our almost nomadic situation feels pretty frustrating, it is also very transient- we won’t be in this packing and cleaning hell for long. Eight days in fact. That is totally doable.

And if you haven’t banged your head on the keyboard yet, comatose from my ‘travel blog’ which has blogged about everything EXCEPT the actual ‘travel’ it was conceived for… tell me, what’s the best thing about Carnarvon Gorge? That’s our first ‘big’ stop, and we plan to be there in the second week of March. Do you have any tips for the Gorge itself or places on the way? After spending the first week of March in Newrybar, Harvest CafĂ© at our fingertips, the idea of Central Queensland sounds very exotic... hopefully it will smell nice too.

Or just not like bleach. 

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Three weeks to go...

In our house there are 9 sets of Venetian vertical blinds, amounting to 150 separate blades and weights linked together with plastic chain. How do I know this (and why)? Because as part of our departure plan we have to rent out our house and the Powers That Be (Fiela) decided that the deteriorating weights and links must be replaced and the mould stained blades must be cleaned.

This fell under the category of No Problem; sub-category, Get Someone Else To Do It. Easy! Until I managed to get a few quotes and realised it actually fell under the category of That is Toooo Expensive; sub-category, Do It Yourself; Sub-sub-category, Don’t Be A Lazy Mole.

So I spent a day and a half running to and from Bunnings, another day and a half up to my elbows in vinegar and bleach and whilst I was very irritable about this whole process in the beginning, I will admit there is something deeply therapeutic about having blinds clean enough to eat off. Of course, I was probably high on bleach fumes at the time, let’s face it I can’t really smell anything BUT bleach now a few days on. The point is, this blind cleaning frenzy is but one of the many little jobs Fiela and I have been putting off for some time... alright years if truth be told. A bit of paint here, a bit of bleach there and suddenly our house feels clean and fresh and wonderful. Just in time for someone else to rent and appreciate it. WTF?

Why didn’t we just do the jobs when they first appeared to need doing, instead of ignoring them and procrastinating? And this is where we fall into the Horatio or Hamlet category. There are those who just get straight onto it, do the Bunnings run and feel supremely satisfied but also bloody tired at the end of every Saturday. Then there are the others who procrastinate, take a quick holiday (maybe to England with pirates?) and then with a rush of blood to the head and a not very well thought out plan, do ALL the jobs, exhaust themselves, have an almost religious experience as they look at all they have accomplished, never to pick up a hammer or paint brush again.

Clearly we are of the latter kind, but I’ve made a little pact with myself to be the former. Let’s face it, with the tiny space we’ll be afforded in the Jayco Swan, procrastinating about even the smallest of chores will no doubt lead to someone having a brain explosion over which are clean and which are dirty clothes, why there pencils all over the floor (a wonderful revelation to have at 2am) and where the hell am I supposed to sit- every available space in this van has been piled up with crap!!!??? As you can guess, brain explosions have already occurred over these exact scenarios.

So who are you: Hamlet or Horatio?

Both approaches have their merits, but I’m definitely going with the just do it approach… until I can’t really be bothered in which case I’ll probably spend a lot of time wondering whether ‘tis nobler to clean or not to clean…
We were at a restaurant with the kids, hurriedly packing up after it had finally all gone pear-shaped when the waiter came up and quipped: " You guys have done well, I don't even take my kids to Bunnings."