|somewhere in the middle of nowhere|
I was bracing myself for a disaster. Unremitting whinging and bickering from the kids, ugly roadhouses in the middle of dust bowls, endless hours of driving on straight road.
|caravan park at Iron Knob|
As it turned out it was one of the best things we have ever done. The wildflowers were out, in blooms of purple and pink and yellow amongst the roadside scrub.
|wildflowers in Norseman|
The colours of this country always speak to me, even though I am a city girl born and bred. There is something heartbreaking about that blue blue sky, the orange earth, and the gentle greens and greys of the bush.
|A very long train|
We saw whales - more than twenty of them, mothers and calves and young adults - at the Head of the Bight.
|one of 76 whale photos...|
We saw a pink lake, sand dunes that looked like meringue, lizards all over the roads (not always alive), a Big Galah. We passed through quiet towns that seemed deserted, and bustling sea side villages. We camped by the side of the road, in dusty caravan parks, in sandy beauty and on luxury lawn amid towering pines.
|Wayside camping near Balladonia|
There was certainly enough bickering to go around, but even so, by far the best thing about this trip was the kids.
|Nina at cactus beach|
Their absolute delight made it for us. At the end of a long drive, with dinner to prepare and chores to do, their excitement in gathering wood for a campfire, toasting marshmallows, seeing an 'old fashioned' petrol pump, finding star fish, exploring their 'awesome' beds made, made us smile and remember why we were doing this. Each evening they would gather around the table to write and draw in their books. At each stop they'd find some game to play, together or alone. It made me feel that, for all my doubts and fears, we've done something right with these kids.
|Albany at sunrise|
I learned things too. Grace would rather go cold than wear a jacket she doesn't like. Nina doesn't like to stay on the path, both literally and, I suspect, figurativly. Ruby can anticipate when things are about to go from crazy to unmanageable and neatly step in with a story and a distraction. (Thank you for telling the 'ten duckies wearing nappies' story so many times Ru.) Craig is more patient than I am. Lily loves to drive but not for more than an hour or so on the trot. Then the screaming starts. And I? I can spend every minute of every day and every night in the constant company of my whole family, without knitting needles or a sewing machine and without even reading more than half a page of my book, and be very very happy.