Thursday, February 4, 2016

First Day Back

The Kids started back at school yesterday, four happy campers entering Years 2, 4, and 6, and therefore the final year my little gang of 4 will be together at the same school for a while before Eleanor heads off to High School next year. She is in the wars though - a bunged up knee from dancing, a sore mouth from having new wires on her braces the day before and not enough sleep thanks to a certain 3 year old visitor during the night who was no doubt feeding off all the new school year excitement and wanting to soak up as much time as possible before 'losing' his 4 playmates.

They all started nagging me as usual to get them to school at the earliest possible time to allow for maximum socialisation with their friends before the bell rings. "Come on Mum, we're going to be late!", they all chime in. I remind them that it's only 8.05, that they're re not even allowed to be at School until 8.10 and that School officially starts at 8,40. It's only a 3 minute drive to School so I stand at the kitchen sink and slowly pour milk into my second cup of beloved coffee. I think about the parents around the world that have to wake their children up in the mornings, who struggle to get them ready and out the door without being late. I can't even imagine. It has always been the other way around in this house. Maybe my Kids don't get out enough. "But Mum, George is on the gate on Wednesdays so we need to go now!"

Instead of lamenting the craziness of having the morning school run dictated by their desire to see their friends and scheduled down to the minute depending on whose turn it is to open and close the gate I can't help but marvel at their time management skills (obviously not from me!) and the way they have once again joined a caucus to sort an issue out and come up with their own plan where everyone is happy. "Who's on Friday then?", I ask. "There's 4 of you and 5 days in the school week so what happens on the 5th day?" "Anyone does it, we all take turns but mostly Charles does it because he's the last one in and closest to the door. We're just waiting for Flynn to grow up and take that day". They have it all sorted. I look at Flynn in the rearview mirror and figure he has another year before being destined for his new role. I also start fantasising about a week when every child takes turns cooking dinner.

I decide to abandon thoughts of drinking my coffee there and instead grab the good camera to take the obligatory first-day-of-school photo before piling the travelling circus into the car. We spend the first 10 seconds in the car flinching as school bags get chucked across the different rows to meet up with their rightful owners whilst I juggle my second cup of coffee in my right hand whilst sticking my head out the window and ordering the Whippets to 'stay'. The music gets turned up loud and "Fast Car" is playing. I say I love this song but prefer Tracy Chapman's original version that we listen to at home so much more. Eleanor agrees but insists the original is sung by a man and we have a heated debate. It doesn't often happen but I love it when I'm right. The second cup of coffee gets sipped on the way down the driveway in between dodging the potholes and then polished off while George negotiates the front gate. No Whippets escaped and no coffee was splashed on my clothes. Success.

After I dropped them off, I did what I always do. Coffee with the school mums before going home to stare out of the window for approximately two hours. I then take a deep breath and assess the post summer holiday carnage that surrounds me. It can all wait. Instead, I unwrap the new Calendar, rip off the first month and put it directly into the rubbish bin whilst wondering just what the heck happened to January. It appears my year starts on February 3. Every year. It's now 2.30 and the Whippets stand at the edge of the balcony signalling the imminent arrival of the school bus. I can't wait to hear all their first-day-back stories. I have a youtube video of the fabulous Tracy Chapman on my iphone on standby. 2016, let's go!

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Hello from the other side...

If normal life is punctuated by major life events then my timeline would resemble someone on the brink of a coronary - a series of peaks and troughs with barely a horizontal line amongst it. There's never a dull moment around here but it can be a tad tiring living in a constant state of flux.

I recently met up with a friend I hadn't seen for a while and when I asked him how his year had been he replied "too many life events this year!". I completely understood for I feel like I've been living that kind of year for the past couple of decades. There have just been so many life events and sharp deviations to my normal life path - some lengthy stints living overseas, 6 interstate moves, a few career changes, some major ups and downs, divorces and marriages within the family, more than a few babies welcomed into our own home, the losing of loved ones, and most recently the starting up of our own business. Just life I guess.

To cope with major life events I tend to temporarily "drop out" of ordinary life to focus on the new - to settle in, find my feet, adjust to the new normal and enjoy the new path and challenges before picking up where I left off. I've always had the philosophy that good friendships stand the test of time and that it doesn't matter how much time has passed from one conversation to the next.  However, I realise not everyone feels the same. Sometimes I return from my physical or emotional absences to find that people have simply moved on, and fair enough I say. Sometimes I have moved on too. Sometimes a complete break from a daily or weekly routine is exactly what's needed to grow, to find out whether something is still important or whether you are doing it just for the sake of doing it. I've come to the conclusion that blogging and more importantly the connections I've made through blogging is important to me and is something I want to continue doing.

So here I am, back in that familiar territory of wanting to pick up where I left off but not knowing where I fit in anymore, apologising profusely for the lack of advance communique for my absence, feeling like it has only been a few weeks rather than 5 months since Coal River Farm happened and turned our lives upside down, and hoping that there are still a few of you left around who share the same philosophy as me. I have really missed this space and in spite of my lack of contact I have thought about you all often, berating myself for being so slack.  I'm looking forward to jumping back in now that I'm coming out the other side of yet another major life event and have a bit more headspace to do so.....

Needless to say, my camera hasn't seen the light of day for months now. Thankfully, there has been someone behind the scenes capturing some moments for me. After a very teary farewell to Vanessa last weekend after 6 months of living with us as part of our family, she presented us with the most beautiful and thoughtful gift - a scrapbook of precious memories gathered over the time she spent with us. And since a blog post without photos just will not do, I've included a few pages of the album for you.

We will miss you too Vanessa!!! xxx

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Cutting the red ribbon

Hello friends. I am so excited to finally be able to say that our farm is open for business! The 3 year process from conception to construction has largely come to an end and two weeks ago we celebrated the milestone at our launch party with the Premier of Tasmania officially announcing the opening of Coal River Farm to the public. To say this process has been one of the most challenging things I have ever done is an understatement. Starting a new business is hard at the best of times but to build something from scratch adds a whole new layer of challenges. There were so many times that I doubted what we were doing and many more times I thought the whole thing would fall over completely but we got there in the end. Mostly I fantasised about how much easier it would have been to buy an already existing business but then again the rewards of watching our weed ridden paddock transform into something special and now to see people enjoy the food at the restaurant whilst admiring the view is the best reward you could ask for. I'm feeling pretty proud of what we have achieved and yes, I do think it was all worth the blood, sweat and tears.

And now the hard work really begins. So much for opening in the middle of winter and allowing ourselves time to find our feet before the busy Summer period begins. We have literally hit the ground running and our little restaurant has been running at capacity almost every single day over the lunch time period. I don't think I've worked harder in my life. I almost had my first day off today after 14 days straight until Daniel called me down to help out over lunch. We never expected it to start so strong and obviously couldn't be happier. The main shock to the system is for little old me who is having to get back into the swing of things after almost a decade off. I am coping, just :-)

Before I go reacquaint myself with my long lost blogging buddies, I just wanted to say a big thank you to my friend Natalie who captured our opening night so beautifully with her gorgeous images above.

Mel xxx