I read the news today, oh boy…

2011 is officially the year of the natural disaster.  Fire, floods, earthquakes, plagues of locusts, cyclones, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, nuclear plant incidents, disease outbreaks – did I miss anything?  Hopefully Europe and the UK will be disaster free while I’m there and home will stay safe while I’m away.  It really makes you think doesn’t it; why now, why this year?  It has been a shocking year for so many people and it’s only April, what else is possibly left to be thrown at the human race? Aliens?  I guess that’s an avenue that hasn’t really been explored yet…

I have a friend who seems to cause disasters just by picking up a lonely planet guide – no joke.  Here’s an example; she was looking at having her honeymoon in Fiji in 2009 – they had a coup (ok not so unusual for Fiji they seem to be on a 5-8 year cycle for coups).  She ended up booking Samoa a few weeks later – shortly after that the place she had booked (and pretty much everything else) was wiped out by the tsunami.  This year she was thinking about going camping at Wilson’s Promontory (my favourite place in the world) – they had unprecedented rainfall which cause flooding, landslides and washed away parts of the road and a section of the main bridge.  She works for DPI and was volunteering for the locust cleanup – we had the worst plague of locusts on record this season, or something like that.  I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if she was thinking about going to Japan.  Ok I’m sure she hasn’t been the cause of every disaster since she was born but she does have a bit of a track record!  So Nat, if you’re reading this; please don’t buy a lonely planet guide or do any research into any of the areas I will be travelling to in June 😉

Actually, the floods and landslides etc at Wilson’s Prom have made me quite sad.  It’s only been 2 years since it was devastated by the bush fires and the flora, fauna and infrastructure had not had a chance to recover properly.  The holidays we have spent down there, the southernmost point of mainland Australia, and the memories we created are the kind that last forever – the kind you want your children to have.  Memories of lodges full of loud, sandy children, of beach cricket, beach olympics, hiking, sore feet, falling into creeks, sand castle competitions, surfing, wombat hunts, hand feeding kangaroos, kids getting lice from letting the rosella’s sit on their heads, going fishing and catching seaweed, damming creeks that feed into the vast, clean, sandy beaches, incomplete board games, canoeing up the river, pranks played, frisbees and tennis balls lost, beach volleyball, nature walks, the year dad won the beach race on crutches with a rubber dishwashing glove over the toe hole in his cast to stop the sand getting in, the time we drove past Grandma and Grandpa struggling up the long hill in the old Subaru towing the canoes with a long line of cars stuck behind them, the year Annette did the big hike in her sandals and was the only one without sore feet, the time I convinced myself there was a Dragon living in a cave halfway down the hill on my favourite hike, the day we said goodbye to Grandma and Grandpa and scattered their ashes at their favourite beach.  All the memories, the memories that make a childhood.

This is my favourite beach at WP – those rocks are awesome to climb on

And speaking of sore feet and hiking – I got something very special yesterday! Actually it was two very special things.  I got myself a pair of fancy-pants, super-dooper, extra-specially-awesome, highest-of-high-tech hiking socks!  I am not going to divulge how much they set me back because it was far more than any pair of socks deserves to cost but I have it on very good authority (well, on my mother’s authority) that they are the best hiking socks to ever grace the face of the earth and I could not possibly get even one blister whilst wearing these socks.  The reason I ended up buying some is because mum said I could borrow hers and has subsequently misplaced them – I have faith that they will turn up the week I get back in true mum’s-lost-stuff fashion.  And if they don’t work as promised, if I do get a blister or a snake bite (yeah, from the exhausting number of snake species that terrorise Spain!) or a sprain or need to perform CPR I will be fine because I passed my level 2 first aid course yesterday.  Actually, to be more precise; I OWNED that course – I got 100% on the test at the end, woohoo!  Ok, so maybe the test wasn’t all that difficult, and maybe I do also have a nursing degree up my sleeve but 100% is 100%!

Yesterday was a very long day – the normal 2 day course is compressed into a one day fast-track course option for those who don’t have the time to take 2 days off or have done it before.  It is a long and draining enough day for someone who is well and I had some difficulty getting through but I made it in the end – then came home and collapsed!  The Irritating blood pressure drop returned this morning; my body’s way of telling me I have overdone it and need to slow down a bit.  So it looks like I’ll be spending the day doing as little as possible.  Ah well, at least I got it done and wont have to do it again for another 3 years, and I can now do my observer shift and become a fully endorsed St John’s Volunteer!  I just need the energy to do it…

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