One of the good things about The Big Reset (although the kids don't really feel it at the time) is the slow and very limited internet (my parents actually have a quota as they don't use nearly as much internet as we do or more specifically as the kids do), which means they tend to spend slightly less time on their devices. The boys actually spent a few nights playing chess against each other and JJ, and Sprat taught them how to play a game with a Chinese name somewhat similar to Poker (the similarity that I could pick up being that you had similar collections of cards you could use).
We usually get crabbed in while we're up for Christmas but this time we managed to miss the migration, and just got rained in on some days and pretty solidly for the last couple of weeks. I think it was on one of the rainy days that 12yo discovered an ancient cash box that I've had since...I can't even remember when or why I got it, except that it was a gift and I can't even remember the occasion.
He got really excited about the "treasure chest" and asked if he could pick the lock. I said only if he didn't destroy it and he didn't completely destroy it, it still locks. Got him to take photos of the contents (this is one of them) as he wants to write about it so I'll let him do most of the writing. He did ask what the purple thing was and exclaimed "oh THAT'S what a floppy disk is!" when I explained, and then wanted to know what was on it. I believe some of the contents include some stories I was writing at the time (which would be terrible by my current standards) . 12yo was saying it was a pity that we didn't have a drive that could read the floppy. As it's so old I'm not sure if it's readable anyway and I don't mind in this case XD
16yo has really been enjoying jumping off the jetty this trip and has done so at every opportunity. Unfortunately a week or so before we were due to fly back, he decided to pin drop in and apparently being a gymnast automatically pointed his toes and everything (his coach would have been proud), did not parachute when he hit the water and subsequently disappeared to the ocean bed (or near enough to, JJ estimates that he might have gone down 5-6m). His ear apparently hurt both on the way down and up and the following morning at 2am or something ridiculous he walked in apologising for waking us up and said his ear really hurt and he felt nauseous. JJ took him to the hospital where it was discovered he had ruptured his eardrum so he was sent home with painkillers and told not to swim for a couple of weeks, so he stayed home on subsequent water-related trips and learned about water pressure and why it's a bad idea to dive and come up too quickly.
On one of the days where it wasn't raining much we decided to go for a drive to the Blowholes again (photos in last month's homeschool miscellany), this time with 14yo in tow (16yo wouldn't wake up so missed out), and then headed over to South Point to see the ruins of what had once been a thriving settlement back in the day, as 12yo had wanted to go see them when he heard about them.
There is a hand-drawn map of what the ruins used to be stuck to the train station (where we parked as it was the most prominent thing).
Across from where we parked pretty much on the remnants of the railway tracks was this impressive wall and a relatively short distance across the railway track away from it, what may be the last vestiges of the room of a house.
Next to the train station was this bunkerish thing with a barred window that gave it the impression of a jail cell.
We went down (and later up) these stairs (there was one on both sides of the bunker thing as well as a much larger set that went to the train station) that were built before building standards were a thing.
Last step was a doozy.
We walked up the lower road a little until we found a wall that was just asking to be checked out, and found some video game ruins.
And some graffitti I guess. At least it's pretty and not a pointlessly ugly tag.
12yo said he felt like he was in a video game and that he should be jumping from pillar to pillar. We advised against it as the drop was enough to do some damage if you did it wrong.
Now I've organised the photos in an attempt to give a vague indication of the layout of the place. How we travelled was first parking in front of the train station on the track remains where I took the first photo (14yo and Sprat in front of the wall across the way), then checked out the bunker as the door was on the train station side (back shot of 14yo and 12yo inside bunker), then went down the closer stairs (14yo and 12yo descending) and I took the two photos upwards of the train station and the bunker building. From there we traipsed on over to the house and I asked my dad what was further down the road and he replied not much (there may have been more ruins but they may have been completely consumed by jungle). We then headed up the stairs on the other side of the train station which were further from us when we started but closer now that we were going in the opposite direction (JJ ascending) and I took the photo of the small room thing that had a tree growing in the middle of it as we were driving away.
We had been told that there was a "new" (to us at least as it had been built in between our last couple of visits) skate park and exercise park down at the Settlement area, and got to check it out after hitting up the CLA for lunch as it was just downstairs from that. The younger two had a go on the "community scooter" (a little scooter that is left there for anyone to have a go on) and even Granddad (my dad) tried it out (unfortunately I didn't catch his stack on video).
12yo was a bit sad that he had been unable to fit his scooter in. We said hopefully next time as we shouldn't have an unexpected amount of Christmas presents to bring back next time.
There was a volleyball net so 14yo wanted to play volleyball, however we couldn't locate the equipment shed that's allegedly supposed to be somewhere around that area with alleged equipment that's allegedly free to use.
Enthusiastic use was also made of the exercise park.
I think 16yo in particular has been missing strength exercises (which I did point out he could totally do at home but there are other things to do at home like computer games, and he much prefers using the equipment at gym).
Not much later we got rained in again. It let up a little after dinner and the night looked so cool that Sprat and the kids decided to do a photoshoot in the interesting atmosphere. Sprat took this one of 14yo and 12yo running up the street.
Then 14yo took a few of Sprat and 16yo doing stuff. I picked out this one of them thinking about what to do, and then apparently deciding on something along the lines of "seeing something unsual in the sky".
The small two had a close encounter with an Abbotts Booby that was just chilling behind my dad's car when we returned from one of our beach trips.
After cautioning them to be careful as seabirds have sharp beaks like knives, it turned out that this one was pretty tame. Mum found us a box to put it in, Sprat picked it up and popped it in and it just looked over the edge calmly as we walked it up to the Parks head office. Sprat mentioned it had kind of just relaxed when she picked it up. Turned out it was one of Parks' rehabilitated boobies that they were trying to reintroduce into the wild and they were hoping it had flown away but apparently it hadn't gotten that far after all.
We had intended to go to Dolly Beach during the parents' week off, but the day we picked had rain predicted around the time we would have gotten there. So we squeezed in a trip to Hugh's Dale waterfall instead.
Mostly unrelated, we haven't been to Anderson's Dale yet. One of my goals for next trip because I came up with it way too late into this trip due to having too many other things to think about is to go to all the places I didn't go to when I was living there because when I was living there I had this delusion that I would get to it eventually and of course never did.
There's a board...er...grillewalk most of the way up now, with sections replacing some of the old path which is still visible. On the one hand it takes some of the fun out of the jungle hike, but on the other it makes said hike a lot quicker and safer.
The waterfall (both the small thing visible in the photos which used to be a trickle falling onto the flat green rocks further back rather than directly into the pool, and the actual higher waterfall which is hidden behind the big tree on the right of the photo) has been moving further and further forward over time as more limestone gets deposited by the flow.
JJ, Sprat and the kids had a paddle in the pool, with 14yo complaining that it was cold. After they'd had a splash, I asked Sprat if we were going "upstairs" this time as 12yo hadn't been yet as he had been a bit little the last time we came when Sprat and JJ and taken the big two up. She said we could and up we went. The slope up and the trees we had to climb over and use as bridges were slightly hazardous as it had been raining for days.
We were continuously cautioned to be careful crossing this tree as not far left was a drop back down to where we had come from (this is the top of the waterfall). 14yo felt slightly attacked as she's the one that's usually cavorting over a much, much thinner beam. I assured her that I hadn't been worried about her in the slightest, it was her younger brother who was prone to rushing and grossly overestimating his abilities that concerned me.
I was wearing shoes as I hadn't gone for a dip in the waterfall this time round, and think barefoot would have been the better option as far as grip went. I was extra careful over the tree and by the time I caught up they were in the mud flats.
All is fine and dandy til you walk too far into the middle. 12yo kind of deliberately accidentally fell in which led to ideas for a photoshoot.
I told them to pretend to be distressed but we were all laughing too hard. 12yo eventually got out and looked like
Apparently my parents had commented that 12yo would come back down up to his waist in mud and JJ and responded he'd be up to his chest in mud. Perhaps they should have taken bets. The area up here is the source of the waterfall, the water bubbles up from under the ground. The rest of the source was a bit further up so further up we went.
It's the muddy flat towards the top of the photo. There were a few holes like
and I think there were a few under the mud as well so steps had to be watched.
Then it was back down so the kids could get cleaned off for the car ride home.
12yo saw some cool mushroomy things on the way out.
We timed it nicely as we were up the hairy part of the hill when the rain started rolling in.
The rain continued for days up to and including the one we were supposed to fly back on. We weren't contacted the day before to say the flight had been rescheduled but while that was the most common occurrence, people had rocked up to the airport only to be told that the plane was either going to be delayed or rescheduled so we weren't holding our breath.
Fortunately for us, the pilot braved the landing in the wet conditions (landing with a decent thunk which I'm sure the people on board at the time felt) and then we were on our way back.
An amusing incident that happened along the way was one of the airport staff at the place where bags get xrayed telling 16yo that his Walkman was fine to go through in a bag. I'm not sure what she mistook for a Walkman, but when we were repacking on the other side 16yo quietly asked me "What's a Walkman?" and was either confused by my laughing or realising that I was feeling ancient over this obsolete piece of tech, or possibly both.
Just in time for a five day lockdown.
Other than that the first week back has been trying to re-establish routines and get into good habits and make new plans and generally hopefully have a better year than last year.
This work by bek (ryivhnn) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.