>> Monday, 12 May 2008

I am still reeling from watching a documentary last night featuring Ray Winstone who happened to mention - in passing - that whilst filiming in Australia he was bitten by a Redback.

I'm sorry?

I'm torn between two reactions; firstly, to be relieved that it was such a minor incident (to him, at least) that he can so nonchantly mention it in passing. If it were me, I can tell you that for a very, very, very long time afterwards it would be the first thing I would tell people. "Hi, you don't know me, but I was bitten by a Redback spider in Australia. And my name's Potty Mummy, by the way." A bit of a conversation stopper for the average K&C dinner party, I agree, but I don't think I would be able to help myself.

My second reaction is to do what any reasonable person would, and run around screaming my head off. I mean, if Ray Winstone, living - one would imagine - a reasonably cossetted existence, (albeit in the outback) can be stalked and savagely attacked by one of the beasties that Australia is famed for, what chance do we, the Potty Family, stand when cruising around Queensland in a motor home for a few days?

Don't answer that, and pass me the anti-venom.

Anyway, onto my snapshots...

You’ve got to love a country where a radio ad for a restaurant features a ‘foot long pecker’ as one of it's weekly specials. (Just in case you’re interested, this consists of chicken, goats cheese and tomatoes wrapped in a golden parcel of puff pastry. Personally I would have thought the 'puff' pastry would go without saying, but...) Husband nearly drove off the road.

As this was shortly before we drove past a billboard asking if we wanted SEX (in 6 meter high capital letters) to last longer, and promising to make this happen via a nasal delivery system, you could be forgiven for thinking we are taking a short break in Sodom and Gomorrah.

But no.

We’re still in Sydney.

We were on our way to visit the Blue Mountains for the day, an area of literally outstanding natural beauty, though I’m not sure the Boys thought so from the back seat. They missed the stunning views seen through a smokey blue veil, and instead passed the time giggling at each other’s various wolf, lion, and dog impressions (which, for the record, can become a little bit headache-making after 30 minutes of sustained whooping, howling, and roaring), seeing how many rhyming words they could come up with (a little more challenging for Boy #2, but he did his best with various forms of gobbledegook), winding each other up (not difficult – simply steal your brother’s sunglasses and put them on), and sleeping with their heads nodding forward on their necks in ways that I would think extremely uncomfortable but which didn’t seem to interfere with their naps at all.

When temporarily released from their car seats they ran around in the beautiful Cathedral of Ferns looking for trolls and friendly foxes, tumbling head over heels into the mud, and demanding biscuits with menaces.

We stopped at the view point in Katoomba, hoping to see the famous vista of the valley and mountains, and to be impressed by the 3 Sisters still waiting for their father to find his magic wand and release them from their stone prisons, but of course the mists had closed in, meaning all we could see were the tops of a few eucalyptus trees far below us. The Boys were unphased by this though, choosing instead to enjoy themselves by running up and down the sloping paths shouting ‘wheeeeee!’ at the top of both their vocal registers and their voices, and by being delightedly scared by the rather formidable Aboriginal gentlemen playing the didgeridoo. Boy #1 asked seriously if he was cold – a good question considering we were the chilliest we’ve been up there at around 15 degC, and he was wearing only a loincloth and some kind of sack hooked around his shoulders.

The didgeridoo player’s sartorial approach to the weather was in marked contrast to most other Australians we’ve seen, however, who are all wrapped up warm. (The exceptions to this were the hard-bodied - mostly male - runners out on the streets around the harbour when we went to the collect the rental car at 9.00am. They had clearly decided the slightly cooler weather was no impediment to showing off their toned physiques – which was nice. Husband accused me of looking. Of course I wasn’t...).

And whilst waiting on the quay for the ferry this morning, in glorious sunshine at around 20 degC, a local family turned up kitted out in jumpers, jackets, scarves, and in the case of their 4 year-old daughter, tights. And they looked at us as if we were mad...


Anonymous,  12 May 2008 at 08:11  

Brilliant blog -its going to take me a while to catch up as I have only just discovered there are a host of motherbloggers out there. I thought me and my sister were alone and I am relieved that isn't so. You might (or might not) like ours....
In the meantime I am going to carry on reading, and laughing, and nodding!

Tracey 12 May 2008 at 13:22  

Thank goodness I'm away from Sydney radio up here! .. I have no idea what establishment that's for!(I'm turning into a country hick!) But I DO agree with you on those *ahem* ads - the billboards, and the radio ads on that certain 'dysfunction'! This seems to be a very worriesome trend, and the only reason I haven't done a big rant about it on my blog is that my kids read my blog and I would be inviting the type of question I'm dreading hearing from the 9 year old as it is... the one that will probably run along the lines of "What's an erection, Mummy?"

How typical that Echo Point was shrouded in mist for you. What a damn shame!

Btw, chill out about the spiders!! You're only likely to encounter redbacks in nooks and crannies - like in sheds and storage places... You're hardly likely to come across them in a motorhome that is thoroughly cleaned between hires! Sure.. in the bush, don't let the kids go sticking their fingers under logs or rocks - or down little holes in the ground. You're not planning on doing any gardening in an overgrown bushland environment are you?!! Relax! It's really not that bad!!!

Milla 12 May 2008 at 13:27  

I would have thought that you would be reeling about making it into the Telegraph you clever sausage!

Tattie Weasle 12 May 2008 at 18:53  

It sounds like the boys are having a ball - both my best friends form school live out there and eldest's godmother. I just know if I went for a visit I'd never come back...even if the spiders DO sound rather frightening!

Pig in the Kitchen 12 May 2008 at 19:31  

I thought a redback was a slightly errr, backward thinking white person who lives in the southern US?
Why are you so scared of a bite from them?

Expatmum 12 May 2008 at 20:04  

Pig - it's Red neck not red back!!!!
And Potty - I'm SO jealous. I have always wanted to visit Oz but can't bear the thought of the journey with three kids. The annual trip back to England is hard enough.

GoneBackSouth 12 May 2008 at 22:04  

Wow it sounds like quite an adventure. I hate spiders! But I pretend not to so my children think I'm brave.

Potty Mummy 13 May 2008 at 05:35  

Hi Melipop, yes, there are lots of us - once you start looking I think you might find yourself quite busy! (That's the problem - it's addictive). Thanks for the visit and will hopefully pop over soon!

Hi Tracey, don't worry, I wasn't offended - just a little surprised by the billboard. And I know you're right about the spiders but since I am scared stupid by any creepy crawlies it's not that easy to keep a sense of proportion about the whole thing. I'll get over it, I'm sure...

Thanks Milla, nothing to do with being clever, it's all down to Frog in the Field, I have to say.

Tattie, that's the thing, it's not just spiders. It's also the ants, and the snakes, and sharks and the jellyfish, and - oh, do I need to go on?

Hello Pig, EPM is right of course - but I have to say a bite from a redneck is also something I would try to avoid at all costs. Or is that me just being repressed and English?

Hi EPM, you know, I'm sure if you can manage England that a trip to Aus would not be significantly more difficult. At least there would probably be no stop-over for you guys, you can probably fly direct from Chicago to Sydney. And - so far - it does seem to be worth the hassle.

GBS, I try not to show it either. Not sure that I get away with that though. I may have to stop standing on chairs every time I see an 8 legged creature if I want to be convincing in that respect.

Noortje 13 May 2008 at 05:37  

People in California do that to, bundle up against the "cold" when they don't even know what "cold" is. Silly people! 13 May 2008 at 05:49  

i think that's why they have signs like SEX and how to improve one's own on the highway (the signs, obviously, not the sex, on the highway I mean), because they anticipate parents trying to contain noisey, hyper, bored kids on long car trips, indubitably they are going to get to the other end and complain of headaches.

I hope you have a brilliant trip.

And on self-congratulatory note I am ecstatic to have finally got round comment posting blip.


Potty Mummy 13 May 2008 at 06:25  

Noortje, I know it snows here. I know, because people keep telling me. But it's not snowing YET.

RM, hello and fantastic, you should be self-contgratulatory, you are much cleverer than I would have been to work that out. And as for the headache thing - well, you may be right. Though frankly, arriving in Sydney with jetlag and 2 jetlagged kids puts paid to that sort of behaviour in any case...

jeanie 13 May 2008 at 06:53  

lol - on the highway near here, you can get "sexie coffee" - yes indeed, caffinated gratification with a side order or spelling-cringe!

aims 13 May 2008 at 21:31  

Did you take a pic of the Sex sign btw?

Ewww on the spiders - Yikes!! on any upcoming snakes...oh please - no snakes....and sharks sharks either..

Oh lord...

Carolyn 15 May 2008 at 06:02  

Just catching up on your posts. It sounds like the Potty Mummy family is having an amazing time in spectacular Australia. I can't wait to go one day.

Now about those hard-bodied - mostly male - runners you were talking about...

... could be more specific as to the exact location of this harbour? Much appreciated.

Potty Mummy 16 May 2008 at 14:12  

Hi Jeanie - what exactly is a Sexie coffee?

Aims, am hoping to steer well clear of anything more venimous than a stinging nettle, personally. I'm not keen either...

Carolyn, we are indeed having a fabulous time. And after I wrote that post, we went for a walk in the Botanical Gardens (THE BOTANICAL GARDENS)in Sydney. Check it out at lunchtime. You won't be sorry...

Nunhead Mum of One 16 May 2008 at 18:22  


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