Nath is back at work now - yesterday was his first day after a month off. It was slightly strange to see him off in the morning, but the girls and I enjoyed a pleasant day pottering around the house, running some errands and re-establishing our 'weekday rhythm' that I have secretly missed!
Before Nath went back to work, we enjoyed five days away without the children. This month marks ten years of marriage for us, and since the wee ones have been in our lives, opportunities for 'us-time' have been few and far between. We decided to head to Margaret River (South-West of WA) for a break, and stayed at Yelverton Brook Eco Chalets.
I am becoming uncomfortable with the word 'eco' when used to describe a product or a service, as I feel it is becoming a 'brand name' of its own, and often further investigation reveals that the product or service in question is not as 'eco' as one might expect it to be. By far the best example of an 'eco-resort' we have stayed in (or even come across) is this one on the Ningaloo Reef coastline in WA, which has such a minimal impact on its surrounding environment that if it was to pack up and leave, you would not even be aware that it had been there. Beside this, our preferred style of environmentally aware holidaying is bush camping, where we stick to existing tracks and live by the the motto "Take only photos, leave only footprints."
However, when all is said and done, Yelverton Brook does a fine job in providing a less impactful holiday stay to people who are used to holidaying with all the trappings. The chalets are furnished with recycled and cast-off timber, they do not use any chemicals in cleaning and bins for recycling and organic waste are provided. They run a breeding program for endangered mammals (Woylies) and control pests naturally. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay there (particularly the six man private spa under the stars!)
Over the New Year, I read "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver - a book about Kingsolver's family, who embarked on twelve months of eating only homegrown or locally produced foods. It was a brilliant commentary, and provided much insight into the ethics of our food consumption. With this fresh in my mind, I was keen to enjoy our holiday by delving into the many local foods that the Margaret River Wine Region has to offer. Our 'buying ban' is in full swing (and is going well) which afforded me the freedom to spend some money on sampling locally produced treats. We had some great fun scouring for dairy, olive oils, wines, beers, spirits, breads etc and I probably came away ten kilos heavier!
Now that we are back into the swing of things, we are looking forward to seeing what 2011 brings to our lives. We have been in a time of transition over the past few months, playing the waiting game in terms of buying a house, me leaving employment to be at home with the girls and seeing what might eventuate with Nath's job. Some of these questions have now been resolved, and this has allowed us to step back and look at what we want for our family and how we might go about achieving some of our goals.
Since leaving the North of WA nearly five years ago, we have missed the laidback approach to life that is so present there, the landscape and the lifestyle that isn't found anywhere else. We have decided to work towards moving back to Broome this year, for a last 'adventure' before we truly grow up and settle down. We love the town we live in currently, and plan to return here, but while our children are young we would like them to experience the 'wildness' of the North and the opportunities that Broome provides. Our lifestyle goals are very congruent with living in Broome - endless fishing trips will supplement our home grown produce and Broome has a fantastic market also.
We have also decided to have another baby. I am looking forward to hopefully introducing another little wee one into our family late this year or early next year. Our children bring us much joy and we feel we have done a pretty good job raising the first two thus far!
Finally, before I sign off from this epic post, I want to acknowledge the suffering occurring in Queensland at the moment. I can't begin to imagine what those people are going through. Many people across the country have felt helpless this week, wondering what they could do, if anything, to help. The Queensland government, as well as many welfare organisations involved, are reiterating that monetary donations are far more helpful to the people and communities affected than donated goods, for a variety of sound reasons. The Oz Material Girls have organised a huge auction of donated, handmade gifts. All proceeds will go to the flood effort. Some wonderful work-at-home-mothers have made and donated some truly beautiful creations to this cause, so please, if you are Facebook, head over, like the page, and check out the flood appeal auction albums. You can find it here. This link will only work if you are already a member of Facebook.