Saturday, July 30, 2011


Most of the time life on the road is great!

We have no time frames, farm chores, appointments or obligations. Most of the time we are happy in our own company, traveling from place to place, making it up as we go along.

We don't do sunrise tours because we don't like to get up early, we like art, we like playgrounds and swimming pools and markets and animals and we like taking it slow.

Most of the the last two and a half weeks on the road have been just so ace.

But then yesterday something changed. We had one bad day. Not so serious in the scheme of things but it felt pretty intense at the time.

You know how in life sometimes you find yourself in places that don't feel comfortable. You aren't always sure why but it just feels uneasy. I felt like that as soon as we arrived here at Alice Springs.

Things started being crappy when I whacked my head on the car mirror in the wee hours of the morning (pun intended) and I saw stars.

Then my computer internet went all strange. I know I need to be more aware of how much time I spend online, but I do not want my computer to decide that fact for me thank you very much.

With no way to download emails or read blogs, I felt out of touch and upset.

Then we visited gorgeous friends of ours doing the same driving trip of Australia as us, who last week rolled their car in the middle of nowhere and ended up in hospital. Every thought and feeling and story they shared with us, I could feel. I am sick for them. What an unfair and totally awful end to their trip.

And the Aboriginal situation here. I'm not sure I am ready to put into words how sad it has made me feel. How difficult it has been to explain it to and debrief my sensitive daughters. I feel sick and sad and responsible.

As a family we will do something proactive.

Then there is the camping thing. Most of the time it has been brilliant but yesterday I felt like I was just over escorting the girls to the toilet, over there always being someone hungry, over there being sand in my bed, over the niggly fights, over the tiny space.

Yesterday I felt like I had no skin, like everything hurt me, upset me. I was raw and oversensitive. Yesterday what I really needed was to go into my sewing room and sew. I needed me time.

I couldn't have me time so I kinda tuned out. I played with my phone and on The Twitter and snapped more than once.

When Bren asked me to get off my computer late afternoon so we could discuss where to go from here I harrumphed. We ended up having the first fight we've had in about four years. Then I cried that I wanted to go home.

Then he cried. The girls cried. And I started looking at the map to see if we could get a train to take our car and caravan home. I was certain it was the only way.

But this morning we all woke up happy. Like the air had been cleared and we understood what we wanted, what this trip is all about.

We've had a wonderful day.

I am certain that there will be other places that challenge me, that I wont always be able to resist the call of The Twitter in the middle of family time, that we will hear awful news that will make me cry and cry and cry, that my need for personal space will overwhelm my need for everything else and that other bad stuff will happen.

BUT I do know what I want and I want this!

All photos are from instagram on the iPhone app.

Let the adventures continue....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Random rambling facts about today.

  • All the pics in this post were taken this afternoon at Kata Tjuta/The Olgas on the gorge walk.
  • We listened to Paul Kelly and The Storm Water Boys on the drive there and back.
  • By accident we got there at lunch time so we ate apples and carrots and almonds and sultanas and chips on the beautiful wooden bench before we started the walk.
  • The sign at the start of the walk says the gorge was once an Aboriginal sacred male place and the women didn't come closer than the picnic ground. I was unsure at first about walking there, but after a bit of discussion we decided that it would be ok because we aren't Aboriginal and because it didn't say anywhere that they'd rather we didn't.
  • The walk was a little bit hilly but mostly flat and rocky with a bit of bridge crossing and board walking here and there to protect the vegetation.
  • Indi spent most of the walk searching for love hearts in the rocks.
  • There were lots of caves in the big rock walls, high, high up where chunks had fallen out. I imagined hiding out in one of those caves and how quiet it would be, but then thought I might get vertigo and or fall down so decided against it.
    • My girl spent ages watching these two beetles crossing a hand rail. At first we tried to encourage them to keep walking (the girls), but after a while we walked on a bit and left them to it. How often in life does one really get the chance to study the behaviour of a bug without having to rush off and do something else?
    • Farmer Bren said that his favourite part of the whole day was those few minutes when the girls were watching the bugs and we were sitting alone on the rocks holding hands.
    • Some people came along and told the girls that the smaller bug had caught the bigger and might eat it, but my girls were certain it was a mother carrying her baby. Much like the way I piggy backed Miss Pepper a lot of the way.
      • Before we got to the other end of the gorge the girls tried guessing what would be there. Jazzy was certain there would be a lolly shop. I promised her that if there was a lolly shop then I would buy her anything and everything she wanted. She was excited. I didn't actually have a cent on me. I thought it was funny until the we got to the end and I think she was a bit disappointed that there was only a picnic area.
      • The picnic area was set on a grid thing off the ground to protect it. Through the grid we spied all these things that could have been ours but weren't: a green pen, some pink and white crochet cotton, two hair ties and a click clack clip.
      • This morning I lost my size 4 crochet hook so I might not be able to show you what I have been working on for a while longer.
      • This evening Miss Pepper had the biggest tanty EVER when I wouldn't let her crawl under the public toilet cubicle to look at the 'old lady who did that huge fart'!
      • There is the biggest Orb spider I have ever seen living on the roof of the girl's toilets here. Ugh!
      • We have just packed up the camp site and will head off first thing in the morning. I think we will even eat breakfast along the road somewhere just for fun.
      • I have loved it here in the Uluru/Kata Tjuta national park but I am excited to hitch up the van in the morning and explore somewhere new.
      I didn't think I had anything much to write today when I sat down, but I guess I did.

      I hope things are good in your world.
      Have fun out there. x

      Monday, July 25, 2011


      This afternoon we spent a few hours sitting in the red dirt near the base of Uluru watching an Aboriginal woman draw pictures and maps and symbols in the dirt with her hands. She was so graceful and fluid with her actions. Unfortunately I wasn't allowed to take any photos but gosh I wanted to.

      After her demonstration, we were each given a piece of parchment and some paints and sent on our way to paint our own stories.

      Miss Jazzy.
      This is a story of our caravan trip. The sun is the sunset at Uluru, the clouds are the freezing weather at our home in Daylesford, the green bits on the sides are where we skipped, if you look closely you can see us swimming in the blue ocean in a few weeks time.

      Farmer Bren.
      This is the story of our journey. Our caravan is driving along the road, there is the starry night sky where Indi and I went to an astronomy talk, the mines in Cooper Pedy, Uluru and the ocean we are heading towards.

      This is the story of our family's life. The green spiral represents our home in Daylesford and the muddy path leading up to our home, the green dots are the trees, the blue dots are people we know, the blue dots with red in the middle are us, the white spiral is the caravan, the white dots are people we are going to meet, the yellow spiral is Uluru and the rainbow paths are all the paths we are going to take on our adventure.

      Miss Pepper.
      This is the story of our holiday. The orange is the sunset at Uluru, the red bit is where we skipped, the white is the path we rode around the big rock, the red thing is Uluru, the black is night time and the white dots are people.

      And mine. A simple little story of a family's caravan trip from their home to the great big red rock in the desert. The black lines are the roads travelled, the dots above the roads are the skies and the stars and those below are the animals and birds and flowers and trees. The symbols above the van are the four girls and one boy that make up our little gang of five.

      Oh how I loved dotting those dots. I could have stayed there dotting with the back of a skewer all day long. There was something so relaxing and therapeutic about it.

      I loved the whole experience too. Despite the fact that I'm sure the painter and her interpreter do exactly the same thing every single day for another bunch of tourists. Usually that bugs the crap out of me but today it didn't. When I started chatting to the interpreter and discovered she's just an ordinary Mother like me, for once it was a back story I didn't want to hear. I enjoyed getting lost in the symbols and dots and wiggly lines.

      We have no grand plan for the girl's schooling while we are away. Their school seemed to think they would learn enough on the road and with reading, writing and some maths games they should be able to keep up to date. Even though its only early days, I do think about it sometimes and wonder how they'll slot back in next year. But after a day like today I feel confident that they'll be fine. They learn so much more out of the classroom today than they could ever learn in. Art, culture, social studies, geography, money, language, geology, English...

      I hope you had a chance to get a bit lost in something you love today.

      Bye. xx

      Sunday, July 24, 2011

      Riding around the rock.

      I think one day, a loooooong time in the future, when I am old and wrinkly and grey sitting in my rocker thinking about my life gone by, today is a day that will stand out. Today is a life highlight I think.

      Today, after the biggest three year old tantrum ever, Indi made us a packed lunch, we hopped in the car and drove to Uluru. Once there we took the bikes off the roof of the car and rode off around the base of the great rock.

      We had been looking forward to this moment for so long. We were buzzing with excitement. Even having to stop to repair two punctures didn't spoil the mood.

      We were at Uluru. On our caravan adventure. And that rock is MASSIVE!! Bigger than any of us had imagined.

      It is a beautiful track around the rock, dotted with bits of information and stories. Many places are fenced off because they are sacred Aboriginal sites. In fact the whole area feels sacred. There is a kind of sense of calm and awe.

      It was difficult to explain to the girls though why it was that despite the fact that it was made so clear that the traditional land owners do not want people to climb the rock, people still do. To get to the climbing path, one must walk right past this sign explaining that fact in several languages. Hmmmm...

      Despite the fact that the car parks were full, we passed so few people on our ride and felt like we had the park to ourselves so much of the time.

      An amazing day.

      Today I rode around Uluru with my family. The five of us. Pepper on the Trail-Gator behind me and Jazzy mostly riding alone and sometimes with Bren.

      We laughed, sang, picnicked and adored the scenery. The rock was cold to touch but we had the most beautiful, warm, brilliantly blue skied day.

      I still feel a little self conscious about using Foxslane as a travel blog, but I do want to record this time and blogging is a comfortable way for me to do so, so for now I will. Maybe there'll even be a bit of craft thrown in the mix from time to time. Hope so.

      I hope you are making some memories for you as a granny to look back on and smile one day too.

      Before you go, I almost forgot I have one more little story that I must to share:

      We had just arrived in the Uluru Cultural Centre this morning when this gorgeous girl came over and asked if I was Kate. Obviously I replied that I was. She said she had just gotten off the phone from her sister Aimee who reads my blog and told her to look out for a black haired girl in boots with three girls. As her sister was saying the words, apparently I walked past and fitted the description. Foxslane is here she told her sister. We chatted, I met her friends and heard about their trip and we headed off in our own directions.

      I love how blogging sometimes makes the big wide world seem like a smaller, friendlier place.

      Hi Aimee!

      See yas all later eh! xx

      Saturday, July 23, 2011

      Road tripping...

      The girl at the petrol station this morning told Bren her family had done this trip we are doing around Australia when she was 13. She said she doesn't remember a lot of it but her Mum kept a journal and they pull it out sometimes and read it.

      I need to keep a journal. I will keep a journal. From now.

      There is so much that happens that I try to memorise as we go. So many smells and thoughts and stories to keep track of.

      I want to remember... kicking my family out of the caravan so I could write a blog post a few days ago and looking out of the window to see them skipping. After that afternoon it has become part of our routine, skipping at rest stops, skipping after breakfast, before dinner, after lunch.

      I want to remember how Miss Pepper smells everything and often her descriptions are hilarious. This smells like the Booba who lives upstairs's pool room, next to that caravan smells like soggy sauce (soy sauce), Uluru smells like honey, this bathroom smells like fishhies, your hair smells like the Sally with the two odd shoes...

      I want to remember that comforting feeling of bringing your home with you where ever you go. Being a turtle. Being able to pop inside for a hoodie. Having your own bed and pillow every night. Being able to stop by the side of the road to make a cuppah. And being so proud of her when she is surrounded by boring, new, all look the same, caravans.

      I want to remember the excitement of Miss Pepper's first friend on the road. A little boy called Brandon who brought her wrapped up plastic figurines as prezzies and followed her around the playground.

      I want to remember nights when the girls were across the way at the playground, Bren was making a bbq outside, I was making a salad inside and Paul Kelly was playing on the ipad, working his way from A through to Z.

      I want to remember how although it sometimes feels tedious listening to tour guides repeat the same words they have told forever over and over, my girls love it. The big two are the perfect age to take in every word, to follow each number on the map, to suck up every bit of information.

      I want to remember how they loved the noodling (fossicking for opals) in Cooper Pedy and continued to dig holes and examine the dirt for days after we left that area.

      I want to remember how frightened they got of the dummies in the opal mine tours. Dummies dressed up as miners scared the pants off them. Miss Pepper even had nightmares about those big dollies for days afterwards.

      I want to remember that driving into a new state was an occasion and how exciting it is to chart our journey on the big map.

      I want to remember crafting it up in the car as we drive.

      I want to remember the rat plague and the police hunt for the missing caravaner when we first got to the NT. Low flying police planes and lots of police cars on the road. Oh how we hope they find him soon.

      I want to remember the looooooong distances we drove through the outback. Looooong distances with only things like a tree full of boots or undies or bottles to break it up.

      I want to remember that isolated feeling of being out of internet and phone range for days. Of feeling disconnected but also aware of how much crochet and reading I get done when there's no screens to distract me.

      I want to remember how much I am trying to see everything and do everything and notice everything. Including every time one of my girls wants me to see her doing something which is a full time job in itself.

      I want to remember changes in the weather, in the vegitation, in the climate...

      I want to remember the feeling of awe when we first laid eyes on that rock.

      And then the feeling of complete overwhelm watching her change colour as the sun went down.

      This is just the list that sprang to mind in the last ten minutes. So many things to do, so many things to keep track of. I'm going to try my best.

      I hope things are wonderful in your world.


      Yep, I guess this has become a travel blog.

      Thursday, July 21, 2011


      We are all about slow on this caravan adventure of ours.

      We are the last to rise in the caravan parks we camp in. We lie in bed and listen to the other campers around us doing their morning thing and then the rumble of their engines and off they go.

      We get up slowly, dress, toilet, breakfast, coffee, journal, skip, fiddle with the caravan, pack up, go.

      We drive, pull over, play hide and seek, what's the time Mr Wolf? and skip, we chat to other travelers, we eat, we spend hours in playgrounds, we get in the car and drive some more.

      There is no rush. No one is expecting us. We have no set plans.

      We have always embraced the slow food movement, we talk often of the slow childhood movement and now we are loving the slow traveling thing.

      Feel free to overtake us grey nomads in your shiny caravans and clean cars. Don't stress road trains, we'll slow down and let you past.

      Today we are in one of the strangest places I have ever been. A place where they mine opals, many people live underground and the landscape looks like outer space, Coober Pedy. In the next few days we'll be in the centre of Australia and then up, up, up we go...slowly.

      What have you been up to? I hope you are making time to slow down and look at the scenery.

      Bye. xx

      Wednesday, July 20, 2011

      Bunny on the road.

      Remember the old days when this used to be a craft blog? When I used to sew and knit and crochet? When I had lots of projects to show you in the making and at the end?

      I do. Vaguely. It feels like it has been a very long time though. I guess that's what blog archives are good for. Reminding you of who you are and where you've been.

      Anyway, while there haven't been many crafting opportunities on the road so far, I have snuck in a little bit of crochet here and there and made a little ballerina bunny for my Puppy.

      She wont be white for long, she's been dragged by her ears up the centre of Australia, literally.

      But I think I have finally been forgiven for leaving her Humpty at home.

      Hugest love and thank you to Miss Nel in New Zealand for the fab book the bunny pattern came from. I miss you guys loads. xx

      Bunny Ravelled here.

      And yes I know that her mouth looks like a moustache but the owner doesn't care so neither do I.

      Better fly, the other four are playing skipping with a long rope outside the caravan and its time to head to the pub for dinner.

      Have a great night.

      Check ya. xx

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      first week...

      We've been on the road for one week today.

      Its so strange but that week seems like it has been going on for ages and we have been living in this caravan forever and at the same time, it feels like we have only just left home and there are still so many lessons to learn and adventures to live.

      Like anything in life, this past week has been filled with bads and goods.

      This is some of what we came up with over lentil bolognaise at dinner tonight:

      A bad is when it is raining, when the campsite is muddy and cold, when there is no jumping pillow and playground at a camp site, when Pepper wets the bed, when Jazzy snores, when Indi is moody, when you have to go to the toilet in the middle of the night, when someone hands you your crop top and says they found it on the road, when little freezing feet wake you up too early in the morning, when someone stinks out the caravan, when there is no personal space, when the caravan feels like an obstacle course, when you spend half your life looking for things, when your heart is not in the project you are crafting, when all you want is ten minutes with noone talking to you or singing...

      A good is when the sun is shinning, when it is warm, when everyone sleeps through the night, when no one coughs, when there is no code or key for the toilet, when everyone is happy, when we discover amazing places along the way, when Jazzy learns to ride her bike in Mildura, when I stop half way through a bike ride and look at my family ahead of me and realise that we are that family and I am one lucky ducky Mummy, when I get handed the first latte of the morning, when we ride six kilometers into town and realise we only have two dollars and then find fifty cent ice-creams and buy four, when there are no farm chores, when there is a glass of beer with dinner, when Miss Jazzy rides to the caravan shop with her purse dangling over the handle bars to buy herself a cup of mixed lollies, when we snuggle up and watch movies together, when the caravan feels as homey and comfortable as I'd hoped...

      That was one week, I so look forward to seeing what happens next.

      Have a fab, adventure filled week you guys. x

      Photo one - walking around the lake at Maggie Beer's Pheasant Farm.
      Photo two - hanging out with Maggie's recipe developer in that kitchen.
      Photo three - the gorgeous dresser filled with vintage odds and ends behind Maggie's kitchen.
      Photo four - look at us embracing the caravan style. (But only after discovering that my Camper boots do not like camping).

      Saturday, July 16, 2011

      No destination.

      The strangest thing is the journey with no destination. The no plan.

      At home, in our real lives, we fly through each day trying to get the most done. Like a race from morning to night. My farmer boy has three to-do lists going most of the time: A today list, a short term list and a longer term list. I race around from one thing to the next, housework, making, baking, taking, picking up and dropping off. We always have something we should be doing and somewhere we should be going. A plan.

      But this journey will take some getting used to. Six months with a car and a caravan. Driving, exploring, seeing, place to go, no place to be.

      We hitch up the caravan, we jump in the car, we drive. We stop at playgrounds, for tea breaks and meals, or if we see something we'd like to see a bit closer.

      There is no are we there yet because we don't have a there.

      A couple of days after we set off, we'd been driving for a while when Miss Pepper asked why we were going to so many places and where would we be at the end? That's what the caravan adventure is, we told her for want of a better answer, going to lots of places and seeing lots of things.

      Will we leave here today and head off or tomorrow? Will we go to Adelaide or skip it? Will we drive for a whole day or half? Will there be op-shops? playgrounds? markets? other kids? Will we have a bbq for dinner or tacos?

      Who knows?

      No plans.

      Only adventures.

      Happy weekending folks. Hope there are lots of adventures for you too.

      Thursday, July 14, 2011


      People ask me about blogging and the caravan trip all the time. Am I going to keep blogging while we are away? Am I going to blog the crafty stuff I make, or travel stuff? Will I start a new blog or record it all here?

      I've been wondering the same thing. But I guess I made the decision a while back not to commit to anything, just to see what happened. Let it evolve. If I wanted to blog, if I had something to say, I would. If not, not.

      I like blogging. Its a way of recording my life, emptying my mind and being a bit creative. The other bloggers I've come across along the way are pretty fun too.

      Almost always my blog tells me what to write and I just type the words out on the keyboard. At times I am even surprised by what I read back at the end. I wonder where it came from.

      While its true this blog has mostly been a craft blog I guess it has also at times been a personal blog, a place to express my opinions, my emotions, our family milestones, and now it may become a travel blog.

      Today I was in the most gorgeous shop, Fine and Sunny in Mildura, and the gorgeous owner Shell recognised me through my blog, knew about our caravan adventure and we chatted like old friends. Its nice to think that through blogging we'll meet other new 'old friends' along the way.

      Anyway, in the spirit of who on earth knows what this blog is anymore or where it is going, I thought I'd share my list of things we forgot at home when we set off. Some of them are replaceable some are not. A few caused tears, most are just annoying. Why oh why didn't I write a list to check off?

      • The good fry pan.
      • Months worth of chopped, sauteed and frozen portions of onions.
      • Jazzy's pencil case.
      • Pepper's Humpty Dumpty.
      • The step ladder.
      • The coffee grounds banger thing.
      • The washing on the line outside at home.
      • Indi's song book.
      • Ear plugs.
      • Nail clippers.
      • Jazzy's sunnies.
      • Stuffing for the amigurami bunny.
      • The soap dish.
      If you are good I might share with you my list of very odd things we packed in another post.

      The photo credits of course go to Mr Ro.

      Happy days people.

      See ya round. x

      Wednesday, July 13, 2011

      Caravan photo-shoot...

      The day before we left, our amazingly talented photographer friend Rohan Anderson came over and took some pics of the caravan. I like to think of them as after the renos-before the fun photos. There's more, I'll pop them on here over the next week.

      And thanks so much you guys for all your fabulous caravan adventure well wishes, they never fail to make me smile.

      See ya!

      Visit my other blog.