Sunday, 10 May 2009

Blame the weather

This morning in Port Stephens the rain has constantly hammered on the metal roof of the cabin. Thunder has rolled around us, rattling our cage, literally.

At first, it wasn't so bad. The children found the Star Trek Warp Speed Ball wrapped in plastic in their Kellog's pack. This provided a half hour's amusement. No-one reads the instructions, so they play randomly with it, hurling it about the room. Then a fight breaks out. Dig sends Squirrel and Tiger into the covered area where the rain finds small cracks in the roof to drip, and they wrestle there.

Bored with that, Tiger finds a snail and suggests timing the speed of its track with the Speed Ball, and that amuses everyone a while until the snail won't go where they want, won't jump over the finish line, and anyway, no one thought to measure the distance. Then they disperse in search of another, more willing and obliging insect, one who will follow rules and obey commands.

Of course the moment their backs are turned, disaster strikes when I stand on the snail while occupied with the laundry again. I won't confess. I will say their only source of amusement slithered off, weary of being told what to do by giants.

And the owners of the site aren't here again, which is a great nuisance. They would have provided some diversion because the children could have quizzed them about what type of snail it was. When Squirrel and Tiger found another frog, the owners stared at it blankly, before declaring it a frog and they didn't know what type. They're not much use, beyond declaring this is a koala, this is a kangaroo, but hey, it's raining, and they would have provided another half hour of something to do.

For me it's bad because they keep a little second hand bookshop in their office and now it's all locked up. That makes me feel cross. They are a good source of reject books about English history.

And I still cannot make the huge laundry machine work. Cherry, the site owner, managed it for me the other day, or said she did, by changing the settings. I cannot do the same. I told Dig to stop pressing STOP and START because everytime you do that it fills with water. Now we've overflowed it again. Perhaps it's a good job the owners aren't here to see us kill their wildlife and trash their laundry hut.

Midday, it's continuing to rain, and none of us really knows what to do. I have tiptapped at the keyboard, we've played with the Chinese chess set, no one wants to watch TV (which I am glad about) and only Shark can be persuaded to draw a picture of herself in a very special Australian place. She's chosen the Shark and Ray Feeding Centre.

The children respond much as anyone would expect. They are bored, fed up, squabble. We've periodically ejected them into the dripping covered area outside and told them to squabble there. They wrestle, try and turn it into I hate you and never want to see you again, then try and turn it into I didn't mean to hurt you and I'm sorry. They are rolling back and forth, not sure which way to go, not sure which route to take. When the rain eases, they dart off to the grass and the ponds and stay there, even though within minutes the rain comes tumbling back down.

This is not kind weather, so I feel sorry for myself, perhaps that this part of the journey is over. I have come to new resolutions of course. I don't know if I'll see any of them through.

Perhaps we can yet redeem the day. The weather's due to clear before we're plunged into darkness at 5.30, and we may make a dash to see the gigantic sand dunes around Anna Bay, in the Worimi Conservation Lands.

The sand dunes stretch 32 kilometres round the coastline and are shifting slowly inland. So far they've made it by one kilometre. The dunes, reaching 40 metres high, lose all their vegetation beyond the coastal strip and become sand mountains straight from a film set. Cherry says they are the largest dunes outside the Sahara. I'm not sure about that, but they would be fine to see. Probably once there I will realise how much I don't know about the world all over again, and how much time I squander, when there is so much to explore.

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