The Boy of Summer

The exceitement began with Christmas Day but continued into Boxing Day when I was a kid.   That was the day that the holiday started.  For many years when we were kids the holiday destination was the Ball Caravan Park on the Murray River at Corowa.   For around 10 years I made that trek with Mum and Dad, my sisters and various other family and friends and we’d camp there for around four weeks every year.  That means that I spent around a year of my life in that town.

 

 Dad would pack up his old Ford Thames van with all of the gear and he and I would take off early Boxing Day morning.  Many times there’d be a deck chair set up inside the side door and my cousin Gavin or one of my mates, David Palmer for a couple of years, would sit in that chair in the back.   It wasn’t illegal in those days, there were no requirments to wear seat belts and besides the van struggled to do 35 miles per hour meaning what is now a three hour trip took us around 7 or 8 in those days.

We went with all the comforts of home, carpet for the floor, an ice chest, chairs, gas stove, umbrellas and a foam mattress for me to sleep on in the back of the van. 

It was a dry heat in Corowa, the plane trees shaded the camping ground and helped keep it relatively cool in the shade.   It didn’t really matter because we spent most days at the pool which was adjacent to the camping ground, spending hours perfecting our bombing and horsie technique.  For those who don’t know the terms that was a way of leaping into the water and causing the biggest possible splash without doing a belly whacker.  And when we weren’t at the pool we were generally down at the river swimming or fishing.

In the years when our friends the Browns came as well, Uncle Arthur would grab me by the two at some ungodly hour of the morning around dawn so that his sone Garaham and I could go fishing.  In the early years we would generally come back with a feed of redfin that we’d cook up fresh for breakfast.

As I got a little bit older I’d play golf.  I could be a student member with reciprocal rights to a lot of Melbourne Golf Courses for $5 per year which was a bargain even if I only played occasionally during the year.    I never played often enough to become any good at the game and I’m just as happy walking around a course these days and taking photos rather than trying to bash one of those little white balls.

My sister Karen and Shirley Brown were far more sociable than I was and they made plenty of friends up there over the years, much to Mum’s chagrin because she didn’t like them mixing with boys.  In fact every night she’d lace up their side of the tent so that they couldn’t get out.  In those days though, tents didn’t have floors so they simply waited a while then lifted the side and snuck out.   I remember one night Mum came and got me from the Van because she’d found them missing and I had to march around the park with here whilst she called out to them.  We eventually found them across the other side sitting down laughing with a group of young blokes.  Yes, Mum was over protective.

One year it absolutely poured with rain the whole time we were there.   Dad must have had to return to work early because I remember Mum had to dismantle the camp, pack up the van and drive us home.    The van boiled every 50 mile and we’d have to stop and refill the radiator.  It took us around 12 hours to get home that year.

I’ve written before about how Karen and I used to have a race to see who could get brownest the quickest.   Sunburn wasn’t the horror story in those days that it is now.  We didn’t cover up, in fact we wore as little as possible and lay out in the sun for hours at a time.  In Dad’s words by the end of the holidays we were all as brown as berries.

As I tend to do on holidays, a lot of time was spent reading.   I remember that I bought the Robert E Howard Conan books one year at a book store up there which were my first introduction into the Sword and Scorcery genre.  I re-read the Lord of the Rings and the Dune trilogy one holiday and became a fan of Michael Moorcock in yet another year.  And I shouldn’t forget the E E Doc Smith Lensman series.

Fo the most part they were good times.  I’m sure Mum and Dad chose Corowa because it was in New South Wales and therefore had poker machines in the local clubs.   But Dad continued to drink while we were away and the rows would also go on.  Often Mum would march over to the bowling club after Dad had disappeared for too many hours.  She wasn’t averse to yelling and telling him what she thought in front of everyone figuring that embarassing him was the only way to get him to leave.  And she was right.

I think that was where I grew to hate New Years Eve because inevitably everyone would get pissed and so I’d hide in the van reading my books, venturing out when the clock struck midnight and quickly retiring after a fast Happy New Year to everyone.

What I liked best was that we were away from home, for a while the world was on hold.  No school work, no need to mow the lawns or polish the shoes.   I could do what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it.  read, fish, play golf, swim, all the things that made summers fun and school seem a long way off.    The year I went to univeristy was the year I stopped going to Corowa.  Holidays with mates were more important than holidays with Mum and Dad, and anyway, I had to work over the school holidays to earn enough money to see me through the next year.

Thus ended 10 years of summer school holidays with good memories far outweighing the bad.

This year for only the second time in the past 18 I am not at Narooma where that summer holiday tradition continued with my own kids.   And now, as with Christmas, I ave to begin to forge some new traditions, not better, not worse, just new.  Bring them on 🙂

An interpretation


I think I have worked out the beach dream. Every year of my daughter’s life we have spent Christmas holidays at the beach. Last year, the first of separation, I spent the first week away with them and came home when their mother went up and spent the final two weeks with them. This past holiday their Mum only booked two weeks and so I wasn’t given the option of going away with them. Now let me say that I understand the reasons why and I do not place any blame or harbour any ill-feelings about the situation, but it meant that for the first time I didn’t have Christmas holidays with my kids.

The holiday has always been with a group of other family and friends and whilst the faces have changed over the years, the actual feeling of the holiday as a relaxing time that set us up for the year ahead had remained unchanged.

When I took my daughter out last Thursday night she asked me if I would book the third week next year so that she could stay up there longer with me. Now the cynic in me says that this is as much because she enjoys the location and the friends as it is a desire to spend a holiday with her Dad, but I also believe that she missed me a little bit this year.

So in the dream the beach represented our holidays as a family, the rising waters the splitting of the family and me being in the rear seat a sign of my lack of control over the holiday situation. I have thought about contacting the camping ground but I suspect that the site will have been given to someone else now and given the popularity of the spot it will be very difficult to get a site for that time of year.

An interpretation


I think I have worked out the beach dream. Every year of my daughter’s life we have spent Christmas holidays at the beach. Last year, the first of separation, I spent the first week away with them and came home when their mother went up and spent the final two weeks with them. This past holiday their Mum only booked two weeks and so I wasn’t given the option of going away with them. Now let me say that I understand the reasons why and I do not place any blame or harbour any ill-feelings about the situation, but it meant that for the first time I didn’t have Christmas holidays with my kids.

The holiday has always been with a group of other family and friends and whilst the faces have changed over the years, the actual feeling of the holiday as a relaxing time that set us up for the year ahead had remained unchanged.

When I took my daughter out last Thursday night she asked me if I would book the third week next year so that she could stay up there longer with me. Now the cynic in me says that this is as much because she enjoys the location and the friends as it is a desire to spend a holiday with her Dad, but I also believe that she missed me a little bit this year.

So in the dream the beach represented our holidays as a family, the rising waters the splitting of the family and me being in the rear seat a sign of my lack of control over the holiday situation. I have thought about contacting the camping ground but I suspect that the site will have been given to someone else now and given the popularity of the spot it will be very difficult to get a site for that time of year.

An interpretation


I think I have worked out the beach dream. Every year of my daughter’s life we have spent Christmas holidays at the beach. Last year, the first of separation, I spent the first week away with them and came home when their mother went up and spent the final two weeks with them. This past holiday their Mum only booked two weeks and so I wasn’t given the option of going away with them. Now let me say that I understand the reasons why and I do not place any blame or harbour any ill-feelings about the situation, but it meant that for the first time I didn’t have Christmas holidays with my kids.

The holiday has always been with a group of other family and friends and whilst the faces have changed over the years, the actual feeling of the holiday as a relaxing time that set us up for the year ahead had remained unchanged.

When I took my daughter out last Thursday night she asked me if I would book the third week next year so that she could stay up there longer with me. Now the cynic in me says that this is as much because she enjoys the location and the friends as it is a desire to spend a holiday with her Dad, but I also believe that she missed me a little bit this year.

So in the dream the beach represented our holidays as a family, the rising waters the splitting of the family and me being in the rear seat a sign of my lack of control over the holiday situation. I have thought about contacting the camping ground but I suspect that the site will have been given to someone else now and given the popularity of the spot it will be very difficult to get a site for that time of year.

A Compass for Holidays

It is 18 years since I spent either Boxing Day or the day after at home. In all that time I have been traveling to a holiday destination with my family. Even last year, I spent the first week away with my daughters before doing a tag team with their mother. So as with Christmas, there is a great sense of change lingering upon me. That comes with a touch of trepidation and one can only hope some day that this holiday will once more become one of anticipation for me. Daughter number two and her mother are heading off tomorrow, once more to Narooma, where the summers are great. So I am glad that they are continuing this tradition even though I know I won’t ever be part of it again.

Today I took daughter number two shopping for a birthday present for her Mum, because that will occur when they are away, and we decided also to go and see the movie “The Golden Compass” which only opened here yesterday. I have read with interest the pannings it has gotten from critics and noted also that it has been considered a box office failure in the States. There has been some talk about it being anti-religion but to be honest, who cares, in my opinion it’s a good story well told, and we both enjoyed it. So don’t be put off by what other people are saying, it’s a book written as a child’s fantasy, no Lord of the Rings, but stunning visually and as good as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

A Compass for Holidays

It is 18 years since I spent either Boxing Day or the day after at home. In all that time I have been traveling to a holiday destination with my family. Even last year, I spent the first week away with my daughters before doing a tag team with their mother. So as with Christmas, there is a great sense of change lingering upon me. That comes with a touch of trepidation and one can only hope some day that this holiday will once more become one of anticipation for me. Daughter number two and her mother are heading off tomorrow, once more to Narooma, where the summers are great. So I am glad that they are continuing this tradition even though I know I won’t ever be part of it again.

Today I took daughter number two shopping for a birthday present for her Mum, because that will occur when they are away, and we decided also to go and see the movie “The Golden Compass” which only opened here yesterday. I have read with interest the pannings it has gotten from critics and noted also that it has been considered a box office failure in the States. There has been some talk about it being anti-religion but to be honest, who cares, in my opinion it’s a good story well told, and we both enjoyed it. So don’t be put off by what other people are saying, it’s a book written as a child’s fantasy, no Lord of the Rings, but stunning visually and as good as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

A Compass for Holidays

It is 18 years since I spent either Boxing Day or the day after at home. In all that time I have been traveling to a holiday destination with my family. Even last year, I spent the first week away with my daughters before doing a tag team with their mother. So as with Christmas, there is a great sense of change lingering upon me. That comes with a touch of trepidation and one can only hope some day that this holiday will once more become one of anticipation for me. Daughter number two and her mother are heading off tomorrow, once more to Narooma, where the summers are great. So I am glad that they are continuing this tradition even though I know I won’t ever be part of it again.

Today I took daughter number two shopping for a birthday present for her Mum, because that will occur when they are away, and we decided also to go and see the movie “The Golden Compass” which only opened here yesterday. I have read with interest the pannings it has gotten from critics and noted also that it has been considered a box office failure in the States. There has been some talk about it being anti-religion but to be honest, who cares, in my opinion it’s a good story well told, and we both enjoyed it. So don’t be put off by what other people are saying, it’s a book written as a child’s fantasy, no Lord of the Rings, but stunning visually and as good as The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe.

I need a Holiday

I spent a week at Narooma with the kids between Christmas and New Year last year. It was a strange holiday marking the beginning of the end in so many ways. We had spent 13 years of Christmas holidays in that same camping ground where the kids had learnt to ride their two-wheelers and to roller blade and where I had lounged around and devoured many books. But last year was the first without being a family and it was sad and uncomfortable by turns, and there was a need to try and put on a facade of normalcy for my two daughters in particular.

They are still going this coming Christmas, at least I hope they are. E said to me a couple of weeks ago that L didn’t want to go but that wasn’t fair, because she still wanted to and why should her brothers and sister get to choose the time when they stopped coming but she didn’t. I said that I would continue to take her if her mother didn’t want to because once they give up the camp site they will never get it back.

Anyway, for the most part Christmas last year sucked, and it’s been an even bigger year emotionally this year than last in some ways. At the moment I feel tired and just want to take some time off to relax. So I think in early December I’m gonna take off to Tasmania for a week, just drive around, do a few bushwalks that are neither too long nor too strenuous and take a lot of photos. I can’t go any earlier because some of my staff will already be away.

That’s the plan anyway and it’s good to have some plans.

I need a Holiday

I spent a week at Narooma with the kids between Christmas and New Year last year. It was a strange holiday marking the beginning of the end in so many ways. We had spent 13 years of Christmas holidays in that same camping ground where the kids had learnt to ride their two-wheelers and to roller blade and where I had lounged around and devoured many books. But last year was the first without being a family and it was sad and uncomfortable by turns, and there was a need to try and put on a facade of normalcy for my two daughters in particular.

They are still going this coming Christmas, at least I hope they are. E said to me a couple of weeks ago that L didn’t want to go but that wasn’t fair, because she still wanted to and why should her brothers and sister get to choose the time when they stopped coming but she didn’t. I said that I would continue to take her if her mother didn’t want to because once they give up the camp site they will never get it back.

Anyway, for the most part Christmas last year sucked, and it’s been an even bigger year emotionally this year than last in some ways. At the moment I feel tired and just want to take some time off to relax. So I think in early December I’m gonna take off to Tasmania for a week, just drive around, do a few bushwalks that are neither too long nor too strenuous and take a lot of photos. I can’t go any earlier because some of my staff will already be away.

That’s the plan anyway and it’s good to have some plans.