Saturday, 28 February 2009

Strangers in the Night

This evening I saw a car drive up our street and stop just past our driveway. I saw the brake lights flash on the car, and then it reversed as if it was backing into our driveway. I figured it was someone who had taken a wrong turn and was trying to turn around.

Only the car had missed our driveway and fallen into the drainage ditch! We could hear the car's tyres spinning out as the driver tried to get out. We grabbed a torch and went out to see if we could help.

The car was clearly stuck; no way he could drive out - the ditch is deeper than the clearance on the car. The other interesting point was that the right side of the car was smashed - both doors ripped apart and windows smashed!


The driver got out and had a look. He was an elderly man, who seemed to be very confused. We pointed out that it would be impossible to drive his car out of there, and he said that he'd left his wallet back at the pub, and asked me if I could give him a lift down to get it!

He didn't seem entirely sure where he was, and he couldn't quite remember the name of the town he lives in (which is about 12km away from here). He said he'd been in our village to have dinner at the pub.

It was all very strange, in a comical way, and he kept fretting about his wallet. Then I noticed a wallet half out of his pocket, and asked him if that was it. It was.

I offered to call the man a tow-truck, and went into the house to make the call. Purple invited the man inside for a cup of tea while he waited for the tow; about ten minutes.

The tow truck operator said to call the police, as it sounded like the man might have been drinking, not to mention his car most definitely should not have been on the road, and in any case, the man's car was totally blocking our road.

When the tow truck came we all went out side. The tow truck operator was having a hard time getting a straight story from the man, since he was quite befuddled, but it turned out that the damage had been done by a semi-trailer smashing into him a couple of days before, and apparently it was covered by insurance and would be repaired on Monday by Max in town.

The tow truck guy, who is also a smash repairer said that there was no smash repairer called Max, and he personally took all the work from the man's insurance company. His name was Matt. So they arranged that Matt would drop the man at his home, and take the car straight to the smash repair lot to be fixed on Monday. Small world!


A couple of minutes later, Littletree came running out to tell me the police had called. Twice. Assuming they were waiting on the phone, I went running inside, only to see that the phone had been hung up. After questioning Littletree a bit, it turned out that the phone had rung, she'd answered it. The police officer had said "can you please get your mummy" and Littletree said "sure" and hung up to get me. Then he called right back, and the same thing happened! I explained to her about putting the phone down, but not hanging it up in such instances.

Anyway, the neighbours also came home just after the police arrived (congratulating Littletree on her phone skills), and since they couldn't get past, we all milled around watching as the tow truck pulled the car out of the ditch.

In the end, the show was over and we all went home. And who ever said living in small towns is boring!

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

After the Fire Storm Comes the Rainbow Clothes

No doubt you all heard about the horrific bush fires that have wreaked devastation over a massive area in Victoria, in south-eastern Australia. The fires broke out the day before we left for Tasmania, and are still burning in some places, over 2 weeks later. 210 people (at the last count) have lost their lives, thousands of homes and businesses were lost and countless millions of dollars in damage.

I managed to miss most of the hullabaloo, by dint of being at the rainbow gathering, and mostly incommunicado, but a tragedy of this magnitude affects us all.

Several of my good friends lost everything, one family I know barely managed to escape the fire by jumping out the window with their new baby. The extent of the devastation leaves me breathless and astounded.

Naturally, the nation is banding together to support the survivors, donations can be made through the Red Cross.

Anyway, our good friends, with whom we stayed in Hobart, Mellow and Nemo, with their little baby, Nature, went above and beyond, donating a massive pile of boxes full of new stock from their clothing store.

36 mel nimo boxes

Their clothes are all hand made in India, Mellow designs all the clothes herself, and then goes over to ensure everything is made under ethical working conditions and with fair trade practices.

Seriously, they make gorgeous clothes. I was blessed enough to get this awesome winter dress:

37 new winter dress

And Littletree got some cute outfits too. Their store is called Keshet, which means Rainbow in Hebrew. Check out their website HERE, or go to their stall at Salamanca Market.

43 melodie stall

Tuesday, 24 February 2009


After we left the rainbow gathering, we rented a car with my friend, Belle, with plans to drive around and see some of the island.

The first day we didn't get far, since it was already about 7 when we left the gathering, but we found a perfect little forest glade just off the highway we could camp in.

The second day we drove to the Great Lake. It was beautiful, and we found a deserted stretch to go in for a swim. The water was cold, of course, but warm compared to how it was in the river at the rainbow.

01 great lake

From Great Lake we headed to the Lake St Claire national park, had a picnic lunch on the bank of the lake and then headed through the national park towards the west coast.

Here's Littletree pretending to be a mermaid in the Franklin River:

08 franklin river sprite

After the Franklin River we stopped to walk to a waterfall; I can't remember what it was called, but it was beautiful. 

13 waterfall family

Littletree and I had fun frolicking in the fairy forest 

14 forest faeries

I'm so in my element in the forest. Being in the greenness and trees makes me feel so calm and so alive.

15 ela

We stopped at just about every scenic lookout and did all the short hikes along the way. It was great fun :)

17 panorama

We arrived to the beach on the West Coast in time to make camp, though by then it was seriously cold and blowing a gale, so we could only dip our toes in the ocean, but still we were in a lake, a river, a waterfall and the ocean all in one day!

Third day we explored the west coast, drove through a few towns and stopped and did a few walks on the way to Cradle Mountain National Park. At some point Littletree started feeling a bit sick with a sore throat, so I stocked her up with echinacea and vitamin C, and Purple stayed in the car with her reading Matilda while Belle and I went on some walks.

20 waterfall ela

We were lucky enough to see a wombat in the wild! But I wasn't quick enough with my camera. I did manage to snap this little guy though:

21 wildlife

And yet another waterfall. My impression of Tasmania is that there's lots of lakes and waterfalls. Which is about how I remember it from when I lived there ten years ago too ;)

22 waterfall

We found a nice place to camp on the edge of a small lake that night, poor Littletree wasn't feeling too well.

23 lake camp seq

The next day Littletree thankfully felt better, and we drove to Launceston to drop Belle at the airport to catch her flight home, while we continued on towards the east coast.

We stopped for a little walk through a myrtle forest on the way, there was a trail dotted with somewhat educational signs that Littletree really enjoyed, and seemed to learn something from too. She's been quoting like mad all these facts about the myrtle trees and the rainforest.

But mostly we just had fun playing in the trees.

24 forest pixie

28 forest pixies

We arrived at the east coast, to the Bay of Fires to find a wonderful free campground right on a spectacular beach. 

30 bay of fires

Littletree had a great time collecting shells and exploring while I started cooking dinner

31 bay of fires seq

Just before sunset we were treated to an awesome sight - one of the biggest, clearest double rainbows! It ended up stretching across the whole sky, almost the full half-circle! The photos just don't do it justice.

33 bay of fires rainbow

After the Bay of Fires we went southward down the east coast, we stopped in some places, went for a look in the Freycinet National Park and then found another free campsite on another beach. 

It rained a bit in the night, so we didn't hang around, the radio report said it was still sunny in Hobart, so we jumped in the car and headed for the big city.

We went up Mt Wellington and had a picnic lunch, though the top of the mountain was in the clouds - it was like being in a misty netherworld. Littletree loved it, and she ran around to all the lookouts to see the views - more mist!

Then we explored the city a little, did some shopping and headed down to our friends' house to visit. It was so wonderful to catch up with our friends, though the house was a little hectic with so many rainbow people hanging out.

42 dinner party

We went the next day a bit further south to meet up with some unschooling families I know through Liberated Learning. We picked blackberries and had a great time hanging out. Littletree was happy to have some kids to play with, though I didn't take any pics; by then the battery on my camera was getting dead and I hadn't brought the charger coz I assumed we'd be at the rainbow without electricity for the whole 2 weeks.  

Our last day we spent the morning packing, and then headed to Salamanca Markets in Hobart where my friends have a stall. The market was just how I remembered it - ten years ago I'd been living in Hobart, and making some money by selling home made organic, vegan, refined-sugar-free cakes, breads, etc and carob easter eggs (while on crutches with a broken leg)!

We skipped out on the market after lunch to catch our flight home - it was so lovely to arrive! And of course, after 2 weeks away, and loads of rain the whole time, we came back to a garden very overgrown and full of the most gorgeous spiderwebs :)44 spider web

Okay, this was a really long post (even for me), and I had so many photos it was hard to choose which ones to put up. all the pics can be seen on my flickr page

Monday, 23 February 2009

Tassie Rainbow

We just arrived home from a fantastic two weeks in Tasmania!

We had planned to be the whole time at the Australian Rainbow Gathering, but as it turned out, the gathering ended a week sooner than anticipated (seemed that there was some lack of communication going on), so we rented a car and spend the second week driving around the island, sightseeing, doing short hikes and free camping in gorgeous locations.

Anyway, I'll do a second post for the Tassie travels part of the trip, and stick to the rainbow gathering for this one :)

We started the trip by waking up and leaving at 5am. Considering we are a family that generally goes to bed around midnight and gets up around 10am, this was really the middle of the night; it was still dark for goodness sake!

My good friend Ansanity drove us to the airport. Getting our luggage checked in was easy - I think we did pretty well; full camping gear for three people in a cold place all in 2 backpacks of 18kg each :)

01 flight videoThe plane had those little screens on the back of each seat, but they flashed up on this screen:

"Due to normal aircraft movement programming is temporarily unavailable."

So... does that mean we can watch stuff only during abnormal aircraft movement? Are they just saving the shows as a distraction if we crash?! LOL

After changing planes in Melbourne, stopping long enough to catch the horrific news of the bushfires in Victoria, we arrived in Launceston easily, and rented a car to get to the gathering; just an hour from the airport.

Purple dropped me and Littletree off with the bags and went to return the car, while I set up our camp. We were all sorted and ready in time for dinner circle, which was nice - I was pretty exhausted after a half-night's sleep, 2 flights and being in four states in one day!

We stayed at the gathering for a week and had a fantastic time.

Main Circle:

04 main circle

Magic hat parade: 

05 magic hat

Full Moon Rising: 

06 full moon rising

Dreadlock making:

09 dread making

We were blessed by a rainbow over main circle

11 rainbow

And invaded by hoards of cheeky possums who would troll around at night searching for scraps. 

21 possum

The river was spectacular; freezing cold but I enjoyed a good swim every day. I enjoy that bracing feeling when it's so cold it burns :)

22 river

I couldn't help myself and ended up in the kitchen making dinner three nights in a row, which was great fun. We had good music;

25 music in the kitchen

And a little kitchen god appeared one day to oversee the salad.

26 kitchen god

It was a really wonderful gathering, weird rainbow politricks aside; I had a great time and I was sad to leave earlier than planned, but also happy to have seen so many old friends and to have the chance to travel around Tasmania a bit with Purple and Littletree.

More photos can be seen on my flickr page

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Off to Tassie

We're all packed and ready to go... to Tasmania!!!

The Australian national Rainbow Gathering is a-waiting :) We'll arrive there just in time for full moon, and stay two weeks. I can't wait!

Normally I'd have gone for the start of the gathering and stayed for the whole time, rather than just swanning in for a guest appearance right at the peak time, but of course I had a birth booked for the last week of January.

Thankfully, Rinka had her baby in plenty of time (or I'd have had to change my tickets), and we're all set.

The other day I was tidying up and I saw this on the wall:

65 spiders

Closer inspection revealed it to be a swarm of baby spiders just hatched.

66 spiders

At least we know the house will be well taken care of. these spiders are the kind that quickly grow to be the size of your hand! And for sure we won't have any mosquitoes with this lot :)

Actually, we have a friend house-sitting for us, but I'm pretty sure he's spider-friendly ;)

See you all in two weeks!

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Beautiful Birth Basket

I received this fantastic hand made basket from my last clients. They had a beautiful, easy birth, and a healthy baby girl :) I was barely needed!

And they gifted me this gorgeous basket that they made - hand-woven wicker lined with green sari material and a hand-sequinned shoulder strap. I love it! It will make a great carry-all for my pre-natal kit.


I feel like the most blessed midwife in all the lands :)

Oh, and just a little newsflash; I've been hired to go back to Thailand for another birth in April, so Littletree and I will be off on another Asian adventure soon!

Sunday, 1 February 2009


We had a housewarming party last night, which was great fun.

Lots of friends came over and mingled

67 party mamas

We hung out on the balcony

68 party

The kids mostly played in Littletree's room

71 party kids

We made a toast, with Purple's home made fruit liqueurs

73 party toast

And I made a little ceremony of lighting the fire, using a coal from the fireplace at our old house. The idea being to follow on a tradition of carrying coals when travelling, so you always start a new fire from the old one.

I also asked everyone to bring a token piece of wood for the fire, to symbolise the community building our house. Since traditionally communities helped each other to build their houses, I wanted something to represent that. Of course, it's the middle of Summer here, and way to hot to have a blazing fire, so we just got it going and then let it go out again. Still it was nice to have the ritual of it.

76 party fire

We had a great night, chatting, eating way too much good food, lots of laughter and of course, JJ's antics

74 party jimmi