Where are we now?

Where are we now?
Where are we now? Tahmoor, NSW. Updated 7th December 2011

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Currarong to Tahmoor

A Merry Australian Christmas!

We returned to Tahmoor after a week of fun and play down the coast, and readied ourselves for Christmas!

WE had a very full week of family picnic's and BBQ's, and trying to catch up with everybody. It really is good to be back home with the family this time of year, it's making the sadness of the trips end a little more easy to bare Bec recons.

Isabella's first Christmas
Christmas Eve had us preparing everything ready for tomorrow's great day of fun and food! That evening, Adam (Bec's brother) and Courtney were doing a BBQ dinner for both families (his and hers), so we all enjoyed a beautiful dinner of steaks, prawns, salads, and drinks. Mmm, Mmm....... Unfortunately we had to return home early as there was still lots to do, not to mention trying to get a very excited Scarlett to bed early. Before she hit the hay, she placed cookies and milk on the table for Santa, and Nana read her "An Australian Night Before Christmas" - something she has done for Scarlett every year since she had been born. We all kissed her good night, and then got to work! There were presents to find and unhide, others that still needed wrapping, and the bigger ones needed building. And somehow we had to get them all under the tree!

We somehow finished everything and were all in bed by 11pm, and hoped that Scarlett would sleep in.... Yeah right!

As we expected, she was up by 5am and was running through the house waking everybody up! Santa had found us and delivered lots and lots of presents!
The cookies were eaten, and the glass of milk was empty!

Scarlett and her dolls house

Somehow Scarlett stopped herself from tearing open presents, and waited patiently for everyone to wake up and gather in the lounge room.

While she was waiting though, she started sorting through all the presents and placing them in groups of who was going to get what - she can be so organised sometimes...

Scarlett helping Isabella with her gifts
The girls all got new handbags
The first pressie she spied even before she reached the tree was the huge dolls house! She was wrapped, and let everyone know it. It was the perfect size for all her barbies! She then only opened two presents, as Adam, Courtney and Isabella were coming down to join us. I was so proud of her wanting to wait for them to join in for the present opening, and breakfast. While Scarlett waited, she played with her dolls house, and we started building a new Lego piece that she received. She loves her Lego!
Russell (aka Grumpy) with his magic flaming wallet we brought him
Soon everyone arrived, and we all sat around while presents were handed out to everyone. This is a great tradition that Bec's parents have, and Scarlett loved being able to read the present tags and hand them out too! Being this was also Isabella's first Christmas, it was extra special for Adam and Courtney and our family too. I think Nana and Grumpy really enjoyed having their two kids with their two girls all gathered around the Christmas tree, as I could see the joy in their eyes.

Christmas day was amazing; started with a beautifully home made bircher muesli with stewed plums, followed by a scrumptious cooked hot breakfast! It felt like we had just finished breakfast, when we immediately started cooking lunch - with a beautifully cooked roast in the BBQ, and dishes upon dishes of sides of salads, prawns, and pasta. I was already bloated, but how could I possibly say no to more food as it kept appearing from nowhere all day long? Yummy!

Tricia, Marie and Wendy enjoying mango daiquiris
We were invited over to Wendy's friends place Marie's for dinner, so we all 'waddled' in and enjoyed another fabulous meal of chicken, salads and prawns once more!

Scarlett really enjoyed being back in a familiar environment, surrounded by family and friends. It really made her Christmas special, as its all she really asked for for Christmas. I'm sure she didn't mind the loads of presents she received though....

Post Script: Bec had shopped online this year for Christmas presents as we were still on the road when the mid year sales were on. At the time we thought it was a great idea, but unfortunately it didn't quite work out the way we had hoped as a trampoline we ordered back in July still hadn't arrived by Christmas Eve! Luckily we overcompensated on presents and Scarlett wasn't aware of the missing present, but the point is it should never of happened! (I'm writing this in mid January - and it still hasn't arrived. Big W is blaming Australia Post, and they in turn are blaming Big W).

That's a couple of hundred dollars we'll never get back!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tahmoor to Currarong

Don't settle down just yet

Apparently the tooth fairy leaves
$2 and LEGO for a tooth these days
It was so surreal being back it felt like we were just in for a visit, and turns out that was basically what has happened. We spent the next couple of days catching up with all our friends, and re-supplying the van for a week down the coast at Currarong. Mum and dad share an on site van down there with my aunt, and every year at Christmas we hold a huge party down there for the kids over the second weekend in Dec.

We arrived in Currarong on the Friday (two days after arriving back in Sydney), and set up our van. Would you believe when I got back into my bed after only 2 days out of it, I felt like being back in the van was being back home....who'd have figured? Turns out it doesn't matter where we park her, when we climb into bed at night we feel like we are home.

Scarlett and Isabella

The Currarong Christmas party was huge, the kids had a fantastic time. My brother stepped up to the plate and donned the red suit to hand out all the presents for the first time, as he finally had his own little daughter to spoil this year! It was such a good day; we had great weather and everyone ended up down at the beach for a swim - even little Isabella dipped her little toes into the water.

Scarlett and Deklan surfing the waves

Isabella and Courtney down at the beach

Shane and dad went back home on Sunday as Shane was doing his 'hot laps' with Rick Kelly and Jack Daniel Racing on Monday down at Wakefield Park near Goulburn, and dad was going to go with him. Merry Christmas babe, as it's my Christmas present to you! I hope you have an awesome time. Meanwhile mum, Scarlett and I are going to stay for a week to relax and have a holiday from the holiday.

Tori, Nic, Scarlett and Gabby all having a great time on the jumping pillow

Scarlett and cousin Kaylah
We had such lovely weather for the first few days, then we had some rain and cold temps. It was a real pity as my friend Yvonne and her three kids came down to stay for a couple of days and the weather was not beach friendly at all. Scarlett was also lucky enough to get a visit from her cousin Kaylah who decided a night in the van with us was just what they needed to catch up again.

Shane came back down to stay on our final night and pack us up and take us all home the following day back to mums. We love coming down the coast, as we've had a family van here for over 20 years now. Not to mention that Shane's family are all located down here at Nowra, so we frequent the area quite a bit anyway.

PS: Shane had the ride of his life with Rick Kelly and Jack Daniels Racing! Shane apparently rode in the #15 car that Rick Kelly raced around Homebush in Sydney the previous week - and they reached speeds in excess of 260km an hour down the main straight at Wakefield Park.

Now that has got to be worth some major browny points....

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Day 304. Newcastle to Tahmoor

Home sweet home....

Scarlett running up the driveway to Nana
We were all up at a reasonable time, only to find poor Jo Jo's place was experiencing a black out. So Shane went out to the caravan and boiled up some water for cuppa's on our trusty gas burner, and we all sat around and ate breakfast together. Jo had to finally leave us for work at around 9am (thanks to the great excuse of no power - therefore no alarm clock), so we were able to spend a little more time together than we expected.

We packed up our things, and Scarlett did two reading lessons on her online "reading eggs"; while Shane packed the van. Then it was on the road again for the last time, before being back home to mum and dad's where this great adventure really began. It was a quite solemn drive; I think we were all trying to come to terms with the fact that the trip was really over. When we set out back in January we thought this trip would go on forever, and it has ended up going so fast that I can't believe we are already back!

Scarlett had lots of pressies for Nana
Just before lunch we pulled up out the front of mum and dads, and we could see everyone standing in the driveway ready to meet us. Adam, Courtney and Isabella had also come down to welcome us home too; a wonderful surprise! Scarlett absolutely bolted up the drive and straight into Nana's arms. She was so happy to see her Nana and Grumpy that all my sadness of our trip finishing soon turned to joy at being back home again with our family.

My little chubby chops 'Isabella'


Scarlett, Courtney, Isabella and Adam

We all kissed and hugged each othe, before moving to the back veranda to catch up over a cup of tea. 
Scarlett and Uncle Adam

Rhett was very happy to see her
Scarlett had made Nana a heap of presents, and the first was a lovely photo album containing photos of them both. Nana loved it, as Scarlett had stuck stickers and decorated the pages like a scrapbook.

The second present was a "Pass the Parcel" she had made for both her and Nana to do together. So Courtney on music duty had Nana, Rhett and Scarlett play a game of "Pass the Parcel" with her special package. It was really well done, as she had filled each of the pages with leftover lollies from Halloween.

Even Rhett got a turn at "Pass the Parcel"

Adam had to eventually leave for work, so Courtney left Isabella with us while she took him home. Shane had the snakes out for a stretch in the backyard, and little Isabella thought they looked interesting. So we took the opportunity and took a photo of her with 'Willow' while her parents were away (not here to crack a mental at us). I assure you, 'Willow' has never bitten anyone in her life, and we were right there just outside the edge of the photo. She was just on her long enough for Shane to got "snap" and we then took her off. (That's for all you panickkers out there).

Scarlett and her 'Grumpy'

It wasn't long till 'Grumpy' drove up the driveway. The poor bugger had to go to work today and we just missed him by 10min upon arriving. I don't know who was more excited; Scarlett or Grumpy, as they both haven't left each others side since he arrived home.

It's really good to be home again.....

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Day 303. Grafton to Newcastle

Treated like Royalty....

After a restless night parked up in a truck rest stop, we awoke to grey skies - but at least it was dry. We were lucky in that it didn't rain on us during the night, but the constant noise of air brakes from trucks coming and going certainly made the night far from perfect....

We were on the road once again, and continued driving all day long - tackling road works after road works. The Pacific Hwy is certainly in a state of rebirth. We encountered many new town bypasses that were very pleasant to drive on, but with all the new roadworks it made the going slow.

We almost became a statistic at Nambucca Heads, as a car crepted out onto the hwy in front of us. Bec narrowly avoided T-boning the car using some quick thinking and amazing driving skills. Locking up the Pajero with a 3 ton caravan on the back would scare anyone, but Bec's quick reaction had us veering around the rear of the car (full of kids in the back seat), and living to tell the tale. Somehow Bec did this all one handed, as as soon as I realised we were going to hit the car, I automatically went for the handbrake, but found Bec's left hand instead. So instinctively I grabbed hold and never let go until after the incident! My grip almost ended up cutting into her as her own fingernails were squeezed into her own fingers! Sorry babe... (But great driving!)

Bec stopped off to pick up some fresh fruit at a roadside stall which she got for a bargain, and then made lunch in a non-decrepit rest stop on the side of the road. We then stopped to top up the diesel at Taree, and ended up swapping driving seats.
Jodie and Rebecca

All up it was over 7 hours driving today - mainly because of the constant stopping for roadworks, but we still arrived at our mate Jodie's house (south of Newcastle) at around 4:30pm. She was still at work, but her Aunty Di ended up meeting us at the house and let us in.

As we unpacked our gear from the van, an old ex-navy mate of mine turned up to 'catch up' as we haven't spoken or seen each other in more years than I care to remember! (Facebook can really be useful sometimes). We talked for hours, and before we new it Jo Jo was home laying hugs and kisses on everyone. Even my mate Dave was on the receiving end of one of Jodie's kisses - before quietly making an exit out the front door.
Dave, Jodie, Scarlett and Shane - out the back of Jodie's house

Two perfect Princess's - Jodie and Scarlett
It was great seeing Jo Jo again, and you couldn't separate Scarlett from her - as she had clearly been missed. Jodie had a surprise for us, as she had prepared a meal fit for a King (or Queen). She baked up a beautiful potato bake, and the best fried rice I have experienced for a long time! And to top off the side dishes, was a perfectly cooked scotch fillet steak, covered in a delicious garlic mushroom gravy. Mmm.... Dinner was fantastic, and you treated us like royalty!

Bec, Scarlett and myself had a fantastic time visiting our mate Jodie! Your house is beautiful, and the way you cared for us was truly humbling. Thank you. As usual, you have gone above and beyond....

Monday, December 5, 2011

Day 302. Ipswich to Grafton

Let the games begin....

A restored Canberra Bomber; the solitary 'gate guard' at RAAF Base Amberley

Connor and Scarlett saying goodbye
This morning we said farewell to Mark, Connor and Benjamin. Mark took Benjamin to day care, and Bec took Connor, with Scarlett in tow, off to school. Both the kids wanted to spend as much time together before they had to say goodbye, and Scarlett was keen to see where Connor goes everyday. We ended up saying our goodbyes to Cherie-Anne yesterday, as she had to fly to Adelaide for work - on a Sunday!

While Bec and Scarlett took Connor to school, I  repacked the caravan and got it ready for leaving. Before we left this morning, we had a meeting with a Property Consultant about investing in residential property in-and-around mining towns. This is something we have both been interested in since travelling in these areas for the past year, and seeing the mining boom first hand. By the time he left, Bec and I were very intrigued, so there is a very good chance we could be investing and buying our first house in the very near future. Only time will tell....

We then had to make a quick visit back into work so I could return the box trailer to its rightful owner, and say a final goodbye to all our work mates and friends. They will be sorely missed, but that's the price we pay for working in the Australian Defence Force. I have no doubt that we will meet them all again sometime in the future, as that's how these things go....

Waiting out the front of 'Storage Choice' Bundamba; while the removalists pack our gear

It's not much; but it's ours!
We then hooked up the van and headed over to Bundamba, where the removalists were already waiting to load up what remained of our belongings that survived the floods almost 12 months ago.

4 hours later, and the truck was packed - almost. Would you believe the truck wasn't big enough! They had picked up a full house first, and we were squeezed into the remaining space in the rear. After a number of phone calls, and a lot of negotiations, we finally squeezed everything into the back of the truck, inside their front cab (which left one worker walking home), on our roof rack and in our car. If we didn't do this, we were stuck here until a second truck arrived - which potentially could of left us here waiting until 7pm. Not Happy Jan! It was a very painful process - but we expected as much!

We finally got underway, and decided to head down the coast road for this trip. There was a quick dinner stop at Ballina, and then we pulled up at 10pm at the 'Halfway Creek Rest Area'; located between Grafton and Coffs Harbour. The trip south was wet, wet, wet -with rain falling most of the trip south. We weren't used to driving in the wet - let alone in the dark with truck headlight after truck headlight blinding me. Now I know why I only drove during daylight hours while travelling around Australia!

Tomorrow we head to Jo Jo's house down Newcastle way - and Scarlett is very excited!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Day 299 to 301. Brisbane / Ipswich

Still the best of friends....

Scarlett holding the gate
on our way out of Kalbar
This morning; Friday, Shane had his last day at work at RAAF Base Amberley, and we are moving the van over to Flinders View - to Scarlett's mate Connor's house. It was sad saying goodbye to Hailey and her family, as we have had a wonderful time out here on their property. But reluctantly we hooked up the van heading off around 8am, and returned to suburbia once more.

When we reached Connor's house, Mark (Connor's dad) was the only one home. Everyone was at either school, work or daycare and it was very quiet (for the moment). We parked the van and had a quick catch up, before we were back in the car and off to the RAAF base out at Amberley. Shane had to pop into work to pick up a trailer from a mate to help us with moving some furniture this weekend. We also called into my work and picked up some stuff I had stored there, and made a quick visit back to the storage centre to drop it all off. 

Scarlett, Briony and Mia

After lunch we took Scarlett over to her old day care teacher from last year, Briony's house. Briony no longer works at 'B4Kids', so we had to track her down at home. There was no way Scarlett was coming back here and not visiting her old teacher who she loved dearly. And it looked like they both enjoyed the catch up as much as each other, it was great to see her again.

Benjamin, Connor and Scarlett
Today when Connor got home, Scarlett was over the moon to see him, they really seemed to have missed each other this past year. They played along with Connor's brother Benjamin for hours, and had a great night watching a movie in my bed with popcorn. When Cherie-Anne (Connor's mum) came home, we all sat in the van looking at photos from our trip. We were telling stories and catching up for ages; it's been so good to see them all again.
posted by Bec

On Saturday morning, I had a date back up at Redcliffe with Katherine and Tony. I needed to pick up a box of kitchenware, and also the dining room table that Tony and his work mates refurbished for us. I arrived at 9am, and after a cuppa and chat, we loaded up the trailer with the table and box, and I was on my way. I ended up buying the guys a carton of Jim beam to say thank you, and Tony was very appreciative. I hope the boys enjoy them, as they have done a fantastic job. On my way back to Bec and Scarlett, I went via the storage shed once more and dropped off the gear. While I was away, Bec took Scarlett, Connor and Benjamin to the movies to see 'Puss in Boots'. Apparently they had a ball, and the kids really enjoyed the movie - as did Bec. Afterwards, Bec treated them all to lunch at McDonalds as well as a play in the local park.

Connor, Mark, Benjamin and Cherie-Anne
While Bec had the kids, Cherie-Anne was busy at home preparing Benjamin's 3rd birthday party. I think she really appreciated Bec taking all the kids out for a few hours, as it gave her the time to do the party preparations without the hassle of having the kids around.

We all returned to the house early afternoon, and helped with the final preparations - then the fun began! There were kids, food, games, painting and balloons galore - the party was a raging success. Benjamin loved being the centre of attention, and he loved his 'Tiger' birthday cake Cherrie-Ann had made him!

"Ying Yang"

To say it was a big day would be an understatement, but the kids finally went to bed after all the guests had left, and us parents sat around for another hour or two enjoying a quiet drink while talking the night away. All in all, it was a great day!

Achilles and Willow
Sunday morning saw Bec and I leaving early to head north once more - but this time to collect 'Achilles' and 'Willow' - our two Diamond Pythons. They have been looked after for the last 12 months by Mary and Ryan; two complete strangers who answered our call for help and offered to look after our 'babies' while we were away travelling on our adventure around Australia.

Achilles, Willow, and Scarlett

Wow! We couldn't believe our luck. Achilles and Willow looked amazing, and Bec was so happy to be finally reunited with her beloved snakes once again. We stayed and talked to Mary and Ryan for hours, before reluctantly packing up the snake enclosure onto the trailer, the snakes on the back seat of the car, and saying goodbye to two very amazing people. We left them with a little parting gift to say thank you for all they have done for us as they have performed above and beyond anything we expected of them. Thanks guys.

We returned back to the house after dropping off the snakes enclosure to the storage centre, where the kids were so excited to see the snakes. Scarlett was so proud to be able to handle them in front of her friends, before placing them in their travel boxes, and into the caravan.

We ended up catching up with 'Woofy', Cas, Oakley and Cas's parents at the Spring Lake Tavern for dinner that evening. Cas is due to have her second baby this week, and even though Bec asked her to please pop it out before she left, poor Cas was unable to comply with her request. She will be induced on Wednesday, so good luck mate, I hope it all goes well and we will have to wait till you move down to Sydney in Jan to meet little bub.

We were absolutely buggered after such a big weekend running around, we almost instantly fell asleep....
posted by Shane

Friday, December 2, 2011

Day 295 to 298. Brisbane / Ipswich

What a hectic week ....

OMG! From Monday morning when Shane got up, and climbed back into his greens up to today (being Friday), the end of his first week back at work it has been so hectic! Staying at Sarah and Stuart's was great, and Sarah took Shane to work with her on Monday - so I had a car. Scarlett and I took Hailey into school where Scarlett was given the grand tour, and was even introduced to her teachers. Scarlett was very impressed and told me she can't wait until next year when she's starts school.

Scarlett and I then popped into Ipswich to fill up a gas bottle for the van, do an ALDI shop, and pick up some pressies for Christmas and Birthdays this week. We no sooner got back at 2pm and did an hour of school work, then we were off again picking up Hailey from school. Shane got back soon after, and we (Shane and I) cooked a BBQ at the van for everyone for dinner.

Scarlett and Tina
Scarlett and I went to work with Shane on Tuesday so we could catch up with everyone. I took Scarlett into her old 'Daycare' to visit her teacher Tina, (who she has missed terribly) and I had to go into my work and do outwards clearances. It was great to see everyone from work, as so many have been following our blog and it was great to share stories with those who haven't. I was even invited to 'Hog's Breath Cafe' for a farewell lunch with everyone. So Shane took Scarlett off my hands, and they spent the afternoon swimming in the base pool.

That evening we met some of Shane's old school mates for dinner; Steve and Carla. We caught up at our 'old local', the Spring Lake Hotel for dinner and they brought their beautiful little boy Jack. Scarlett spent the whole evening in the kids play area having her face painted and playing with all the children.

Sarah had Wednesday off so we took Hailey to school and went about doing some jobs. We had a lovely day at home together, with cuppa after cuppa and having a really good catch up. It was over all too soon and the kids were all back and so was Shane, so I cooked dinner and we tried to have an early night.

On Thursday Sarah and I dropped the kids off at Stuart's parents house, and we went to visit an old friend from work. Diane was so happy to see us and we had a great catch up with some melting moments out on her beautiful veranda. It was then off to Luke's swimming lessons, woollies, and back to pick up Hailey. That evening Sarah and I went to a homemade craft shop opening at Aratula, where I picked up some lovely gifts and we enjoyed champagne and canapes. We soon had to head back home to the gang, so we picked up fish and chips and had our last meal together.

Last night Scarlett gave Hailey a small Christmas present she had for her, and Hailey couldn't wait as she had given Scarlett hers on the day she arrived. The girls have had a great time together this week, and it has really rekindled their friendships again. We have loved spending time with Sarah and Stuart too; they are two of the nicest people and we are so grateful to have them as friends. We will miss you guys when we move to Sydney for the next three years, but we will be back again some day.....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Day 292, 293, & 294. Fraser Island to Brisbane

Catching up with friends....

This morning we were up and packed early. I had to wash the Pajero (to try and get all the sand and salt out of the chassis), clean all the sand out from inside the car, pump up the tyres, load up the car, and all before 10am! That's not to mention checking out at reception, and a quick dip in the pool for Scarlett before the barge departed at 10:30am. It was hectic, but we managed it in the end, and reluctantly boarded the barge in time to head back to the mainland. Fraser Island has certainly been a highlight of our trip, and I think it's touched us all a little more than we expected.

After reaching the mainland, we headed straight back to Hervey Bay where we topped up the diesel, took the car to a 4x4 under body car wash, and hooked up the van. Again this was all done in record time, and we were on the road south within half an hour of driving off the barge. Scarlett was buggered, and so were Bec and I, so we opted for an easy lunch and stopped at McDonald's. It was a less than satisfying feed, and we once again hit the Bruce Hwy.

Tony, Katherine, and Shane
4.5 hours later (and a driver change at Nambour), we pulled into Redcliffe on the northern outskirts of Brisbane. We are stopping at Katherine, Tony, Shane and Michaela's house, who we promised to visit on our way back through into Brisbane. Katherine and Tony were there to lend a hand when we were hit with the Brisbane floods back in January. Tony even ended up taking our ruined dining table home to try and repair and refurbish for us (even though we were prepared to throw it out as a lost cause). Well when we arrived, Tony took us out the back to show the finished product, where Bec and I were totally blown away. Tony and some mates from his work had spent some serious time stripping the whole table back, and rebuilding it from the ground up! And now it looks absolutely fantastic! Thanks guys you have done a fabulous job and Bec and I will be forever grateful.

Michaela, Shane, and Scarlett
We spent the night having a few drinks and a BBQ, before finally saying goodnight at almost midnight. We were shattered! After such an early start and long drive, we slept like logs and didn't wake until about 6:30am. Scarlett was up and wanting to go back outside to play with the kids. Tony ended up cooking up a huge stack of pancakes for breakfast, and we all enjoyed them while the kids played. We eventually had to say goodbye, and poor Michaela cried, and cried, as she didn't want Scarlett to leave. We had to promise we would return 'one day', and stay for at least three sleeps!

It was then south again to a little place southwest of Helensvale, where we stopped at our mates house Damion and Kristy, with their three little ones MacKenzie, Reilly and Harper. It was great to catch up again, and it ended up turning out to be Reilly's 4th birthday party. We had a great time catching up over some birthday cake with everyone! But after the party, we all sipped on a very nice port while reminiscing about our travels.

Kristy, with her mum Sue, and baby Harper

Sue and Bec

Reilly blowing out his candles on his spiderman cake

We woke to another hot morning, so after a great BBQ breakfast cooked by Damion, we all cooled off in their new inground pool, where we spent a good deal of the morning playing with the kids! During this time we also spoke about our recent travels, as well as the amazing work that Damion and Kristy have done to their house since we last saw it. Bec was very inspired, and now has a million ideas for decorating our next house (wherever that may be), when we finally find one down in Sydney in the new year. Eventually we sadly said our goodbyes, and climbed back in the Pajero where we then headed west out towards Boonah.
About another hour and a half's drive found us out at Kalbar, a beautiful little country town in the scenic rim area of South East QLD. Here we found Stuart, Hailey and Luke all waiting for us! Sarah was out shopping, so we took the opportunity to set up the van (as well as the satellite dish), as we'll be spending most of the week camped here while I finish work up the road at Amberly. Scarlett disappeared; playing with Hailey and Luke running around the huge acreage that they have out here! They have a couple of beautiful horses, that Scarlett made a beeline to as soon as she saw them! It's like another world - away from all the hustle and bustle of suburbia.

Bec with Carpet Python; and Shane ready with bag....
 During the afternoon, Stuart asked us to identify a snake skin that he found up in his gutter. Both Bec I identified it as a 'Carpet Python'. No sooner had we put the skin away, Bec was calling us over to the house. As she walked up the front steps to Stuart and Sarah's house, she caught a glimpse of colour out of the corner of her eye. She had found the snake as it was basking in the late afternoon sun! As Stuart and Sarah aren't as fond of our scaly friends as Bec and I are, they asked if we could catch and relocate the snake for him - which we ended up doing to Bec's delight!

Bec was straight in there grabbing the snake by it's tail, while I found a Hessian bag to put it in. With a little bit of persuasion, we finally bagged the python, but not after it had tried to bite Bec a number of times first! Luckily I was able to place the bag between her and the snake each time it struck, preventing Bec from being on the nasty end of what probably would of been a pretty painful bite. Stuart and I ended up taking the snake to a nearby gully where we released it back into a grove of trees and fallen timber.

One thing we are slowly realising is that both Bec and I are not coping so well with reintegrating back into suburbia at the moment! It's not any one particular thing, but a combination of everything; the traffic, the large number of people, the concrete jungle, and even the dirty smelling air! Give us the wide open spaces of outback Australia any day!

Tonight, I am preparing myself for a return back to work tomorrow morning! It's been two weeks short of twelve months since I last left this place, and I can honestly say that I'm not looking forward to it! It's not that I'm unwilling to work again - its the knowing that I might once again get caught up in the rut of living for work and feeling trapped or tied down! At least I have now experienced what is really out there, and now that I know, I'm no longer afraid to 'chuck it all in' and live on the road for a while (or return to the huge employment opportunities that I've seen in Western Australia).

There is definitely more to the old saying "work to live, not live to work". I now just have to find that balance or niche, that will allow Bec, Scarlett and I to escape the life that we are now returning to every now and then....

PS: OUR JOURNEY IS FAR FROM OVER! Please continue watching this space.... Although we might not blog daily, we still have a few more chapters of this exciting 12 months to share with you! I still have to 'survive' work for one week, before doing a removal down to Sydney (where we left on this mammoth journey from), we still have more friends to see between here and Sydney, as we head back to New South Wales. I have to get through Christmas with the In-Laws, find a new house, and Scarlett has to find a school. This will all be part of our integration back into society after spending a life as nomads on the road for the last year. And by the end of it, we will be compiling a list of 'the best things and places we have experienced in Australia', and how much did it really cost!