Our trip through Southern Victoria was somewhat rushed and fairly uneventful.
MALLACOOTA, ORBOST, MARLO
We bypassed Mallacoota, mainly as the kids were a bit tired of stopping all day. We opted instead to head for Orbost, via a small town called Marlo. From there we headed in via Bairnsdale then stopped for the night at a free camp at Rosedale. Being cherry country, we were fortunate enough to have a lady selling Cherries right at the free camp. They were the best cherries we have had, and at the right price we bought a few Kilios.
We also decided on a bike ride into town, only to be pulled over by the local police for not wearing helmets. I used the excuse Henry kept pulling his off. He was OK about it and gave us a caution. We then pushed on towards Melbourne, a part of the trip that will be memorable, but not for all the right reasons. I warn you this part of the story is not for the squeamish, but seeing as this is a warts and all account of our trip, I should tell it.
In Queensland, the supply of Cherries is rare and expensive, here they were everywhere, the kids thought it was Christmas. I think about three quarters of a kilo disappeared within the first five minutes. The only problem with this is that Henry, being so young was unable to spit out all the seeds, and before we realised this, he had probably eaten about half a kilo. He would try to spit them out, but he would either spit out the whole cherry, or swallow the seed. The other issue of course is that young tummies do not handle too many cherries as I was about to find out.
So, we enjoy our stay at Rosedale and head off to Melbourne. We are pre-booked at a Big 4 Caravan park. We both picked this one as it was the closest one to the Port of Melbourne, and therefore easy access to the boat for Saturday. The drive over was long and hot. Very hot. We were surprised at the heat and checked it on our weather App. 39 Degrees. “Can’t be”, we thought. We stopped off at Lakes Entrance for a cool down, then pushed on.
Cooling down on a hot day
By the time we got to Pakenham it was confirmed. It was excessive heat for this time of year. We pushed on and the kids were fantastic, but we were all looking forward to the caravan park and jumping in the pool. We got there through the city OK, but we were bitterly disappointed with the caravan park.
It was the most unattractive park we have seen all trip, and the most expensive. There were no grass sites at all. They placed us on the narrowest bitumen strip there was, we stepped out of our van into a hedge. There was no room for the kids to play, and there was broken glass all around the van, and all the vans were packed in like sardines.
Squashed and Cramped – Not Happy
At this stage, we were all sweating and I was not a happy camper to say the least, I was gearing up to spit the dummy, but the kids convinced me that it was OK and that a swim in the pool would be the best thing to cool me down. So in we all went, along with the other 50 people trying to do the same thing. But, it was cool and refreshing, and I soon forgot my woes. That is until about 5 minutes into our swim, when Michelle reminds me that Henry has not done his big job today. “We’ll soon find out if those water nappies work.” I said.
Just as I said that, I happened to look up at Henry, who at this stage was standing on the edge of the pool, with a look of satisfaction on his face, I immediately knew what this meant, and being the loving husband that I am, volunteered to undertake the nappy changing duties on this occasion. I grabbed him just before he managed to dive back into the kiddy pool, but as I had done this I felt something unusually warm on the inside of my hand, I looked down his legs to see something I shouldn’t be seeing running down his little legs. Not wanting to make a Jaws scene at the water’s edge, I wrapped him in a towel and headed back to the Bus, he on the other hand, being used to carrying excess loads screamed in horror that Daddy was taking him out of the pool while he was having so much fun.
By the time I got him back to the bus, I realised that the swimming nappies did not work as well as they profess to work. It was everywhere, and then I remembered the cherries. I did the maths, half a kilo overnight and all with seeds. This is not going to be good, and it wasn’t. The heat was still intense and Henry was screaming. I managed to unlock the door one handed, as every time I put him down he ran for the pool. But I got it and decided the only safe haven was the shower. In he went, still screaming, I managed to get the Nappies off him quite easily, mainly because it had disintegrated. As I did this, we heard a series of what sounded like marbles hitting the base of the shower. Cherry seeds, I lost count at about 10. The sound stopped Henry crying long enough for him to look down and say, “Look Daddy, stones.” Then he saw the rest of the contents of his nappy on the floor of the shower and freaked out. He would not get in there. He screamed so loud, I was sure Michelle would have heard and was wondering what I was doing to him. I was still soaking wet from the pool, he had poo in every part of his little body that you can imagine, and was clinging to me for dear life. It was the closest thing to mud wrestling I can imagine. He was not going to give in, still holding on to my arms, he spread his legs wider than the wingspan of an albatross, trying to grip the side walls of the shower, just in case I put him down on the floor of the shower, which is exactly what I was trying to do so I could wash him off. I reached for whatever resources I could and tried to clean the mess. But I had forgotten to take the lid off our toilet after we stopped, so now, with Henry in one hand and poo in the other, I had no hands left to take the lid off the dunny. Back into the shower, lid off, more screams, mission accomplished. I finally managed to wash Henry off enough to wrap a towel around him and go for help. At this stage the van beside us drove off, I am not sure if it was because it sounded like I was torturing our son or not, but he was loud. I found Michelle and Jade in the pool and waved frantically until they came over to help. Michelle came back to find the bus trashed in a sea of water and other stuff, she offered her support by laughing at my predicament. Jade freaked out and refused to use the shower ever again, and the van was still steaming hot. Why, because of all the days to happen, our air-conditioner chose the hottest day of the century to pack it in.
So here we are in Melbourne, 39 degree heat, unable to go outside as there was nowhere to go. We sat huddled in the bus, the only shade available and crowded in front of our 12 volt fan and enjoyed the afternoon tea that Jade made for us. It consisted of Strawberries, melted cheese and crackers and of course, the rest of the Cherries.
The Cherry Muncher
The kids were totally exhausted because of the heat and at least went to bed early. It finally cooled down by 8.30pm and we were able to sit and recount the day’s events. If this was the shittiest thing that could happen to us on the trip so far we are doing well. Still having a ball, but cant wait to get across to Tassie.
Just an interesting note to add to this story. After reading it, my dear wife laughed herself silly. When I asked what was so funny, she informed me that the reason the water nappies had probably disintegrated was because she had been washing them after every use for the last few weeks. Apparently the swimming teacher had told her this.
WARNING: Do not re-use too many times….
So, lessons learnt,
- Don’t feed your child too many cherries
- Don’t rewash water nappies too many times
Oh, and don’t be in a hurry to change your child’s nappy cause you think it might put you in the good books.