Thursday, September 27, 2012

When a city girl goes to the country

I was really looking forward to our holiday. I was practically frothing at the mouth with excitement because, hello, wineries. Oh and all that family bonding time away from social media and whatnot.

Map Guy planned it all and if the whole cartography thing ever falls through I'm sure he could rock it as a travel agent or tour guide. Apart from the infographic, we had daily maps and directions with a list of activities to do every day. It wasn't a "you must do this", more an idea of what was available. We ended up doing most of his suggestions because they were bloody good and involved a lot of trains for the short train-obsessed blond kid in our group.

He also booked all the accommodation. First up was a gorgeous farm stay in Harvey overlooking the valley and the dam, where Tricky and I got to feed all the animals. Serious father brownie points for that one.

This was also the time when we went to a local winery to find wine that was two weeks past it's use by date (really, they have use by dates?) being sold at $1 a litre. That is not a typo, friends. I was in wine heaven and bought a dozen to divvy up.

Then we got to the next location, our base for the next four days, and it was amazing. A 1950s mill town turned in to a holiday village, with kangaroos and emus all around. They were kinda cute until we realized they were incredibly used to humans and would hunt you down for food.

We bought the special kangaroo mix to feed them with... turns out not only do they have insanely sharp claws but they remember who had the food. Those bastards followed me around trying to get in to my bag for the rest of the trip and completely ignored MG and Tricks. Twice they got in the back door while I was getting firewood (because I'm an idiot and left the door open).

And don't get me started on the emus. There were about four or five all together and amongst them were two males that were walking around with eight chicks between them. Talk about your overprotective dads! A few times they had a go at the kangaroos around us and they'd come towards me quite menacingly - given that emus look pretty menacing most of the time this didn't surprise me. They scare the crap out of me in a "haven't-forgotten-they're-related-to-dinosaurs" way.

Map Guy will tell you differently. He will tell you they ignored him completely so I can only assume that they somehow knew I'd eaten emu before, could smell my fear or had a personal vendetta against me. One of the bastards even tried to get in to our cottage. Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where the raptors learn to open doors? THAT! That is what I'm afraid of!

On a side note, do you know what you do when a kangaroo and an emu try to get in your cottage and you're freaking out? Take a blurry photo then run like fuck screaming for your husband.

Nestled in to the middle of nowhere, the old houses were so quaint with all the original features including an ancient wood stove. There was also an electric stove in the corner for city folk like me which was great or we'd have been eating cereal and fruit the whole time. There was no TV, a handful of streetlights, a dozen other people in the whole village and our nights were spent sitting by the fire, drinking wine and spelling out corny things playing scrabble (I won four out of five matches). It was bliss and we were in bed most nights by 10:00pm. Ragers.

The cottage also had it's original plumbing meaning a solid ancient bathtub and outhouse. Yes. Outhouse. At first I thought "oh how quaint" and then the reality of wild animals and redback spiders hit me and I nearly died.

I know, I can hear you all telling this princess to toughen up. But I'd like to remind you that despite the fact that it was spring, when you're that deep in the forest, it dips below freezing over night, and, oh that's right THERE WERE FUCKING DOOR OPENING EMUS AFTER ME.

I'm not ashamed to say I invented my own outhouse rules. If it's after dark, freezing cold, there are emus after you and you're incredibly pissed on $1 wine, then you're allowed to pee in the bath.

On one of our day trips out from the cottage we went to a Lavender and Berry farm because we'd heard they have awesome pancakes (they do) and some animals that Tricks could feed.

Well, the little dude was more interested in their playground (we did ten playgrounds in eight days - more daddy brownie points there!) so I attempted to. I went to feed the alpaca and freaked out it's insane devil eyes. Did you know alpacas have rectangular pupils? Apparently it took offense at me saying that, because this happened:

That was also how I found out I'm allergic to alpaca saliva. Who'd of thunk it?

We couldn't not stop by the Donnybrook Apple Fun Park - the largest free entry playground in the country. Of course Tricky didn't want to go on the normal sized slides and instead embraced his inner dare devil and climbed to the top of the three story slide (with poor Map Guy following after). Normal slides are for pussies.

A visit to the Valley of the Giants saw acrophobic Map Guy impress us all by doing the treetop walk and even attempting the Bicentennial Tree... as did Tricky who cracked the shits, his cries echoing through the whole forest, when we wouldn't let him go any higher than the fourth rung. Did I mention dare devil?

We wrapped up the holiday in comfort at the in-laws' in Albany. We ate doughnuts, saw whales but best of all the child was constantly entertained, our meals were cooked, our washing was done and there was, above all else, an inside loo.

Do you have outhouse rules? Ever been chased by a wild animal? Allergic to anything weird?


  1. I'm sorry but I laughed so hard at the alpaca. It's funny that it actually sounds like a person spitting on you. It was made at you for not feeding it lol. looks like the rest of the trip was great. It's also great that your hubby organised the whole thing. I know my hubby wouldn't have a clue where to start.

  2. #1Hubby's Dad lives on a farm that breeds alpacas. I have never ever been past the farm house for that exact reason. Vicious spitting little buggers.

  3. I get mad when people stand in front of me with food and don't share, too. Can't blame it, really :P

  4. Wait, by vicious spitting little buggers are referring to the alpacas or the inlaws?

  5. Ooh tough call. I'm supposed to say the alpacas, right?

  6. My inlaws still have an outside toilet. It was horrible when I was pregnant in the middle of July - toilet runs in frost is not fun. When we moved down here to the farm, and indoor toilet was a non negotiable condition.

  7. Awesome holiday you had there, wine, animals, Scrabble!!! And a back to nauture ritua
    With yr outdoor loo.

  8. Kelley @ magnetoboldtooSeptember 27, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    I need a husband that organises holidays.

    And crossing the alpaca spit martini off the list of cocktails for our island.

  9. That is one seriously pissed off alpaca! At least you knew it was an alpaca - I can never tell the difference between them and llamas. When I was first pregnant we were camping out in the sticks with bush toilets (ie, take a shovel and dig your own hole) so I made my husband dig holes in advance for me. He was so rapt to have a baby coming he didn't even complain.

  10. Wine, scrabble and pancakes sounds like an ideal holiday to me! But I don't like animals. Or out houses. And I have no weird allergies. How boring!

  11. I laughed so hard. Especially at how Map Guy was all "Naww come here alpaca, she just doesn't get it does she mate?"
    That's really gross though. I can't believe he missed capturing it spit on you!

    I am more of a country than a city girl. Honestly, all I need is plumbing and electricity to live out that way. Once upon a time I would have been fine without electricity but how would I charge my laptop?

  12. Those pancakes look inspiring!
    My first rental house had a wood fire and it was something I simply never mastered. My Flatmate could cook amazing things in it, but the time I thought I had the hang of it and make Chicken a'la King for my first grown up dinner party, well, let's just say nobody called to thank me for a lovely event afterwards, due to being far too ill.
    I love Alpaca wool! ;-)

  13. aww your holiday looked awesome!! Love albany (did u see Dog Rock?) We stayed at the Dog Rock Hotel once.. I wanna see that tree with the big hole in it.. big game of hide and seek there!! :) Glad you had such a good time!

  14. awwwwww. looks like a wonderful escape.

  15. He had a new-ish collar paint job this time :)

  16. Being net-free made it so much easier to enjoy

  17. Oh no! I think I'd be terrible at cooking in one too!

  18. I'm stuck in the middle. I want the lifestyle but I also want to be able to have phone coverage and get to the city in a reasonable amount of time. MG is hanging for a tree change.

  19. Scrabble on holidays is mandatory for us. This weekend I learned about Bogan Scrabble...

  20. O.M.G. You are a braver woman than me! I don't mind camping but there HAS to be an ablution block or it's a no go! I bow down to thee.

  21. Can you make sure that there are no native Alpacas on the island, too? I hate those wooly bastards now and it would seriously cramp my style.

  22. It's not a holiday without Scrabble!

  23. NON NEGOTIABLE!!! I'm with you, Jo! I can't imagine what this would have been like in winter - it's right next to the town that has the coldest temperatures every year. Brrrrr!


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