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Sunday, August 28, 2011

1. Memories

How does one start a travel journal? I have so many memories whirling about and seen lots of wonderful places both in my own country and overseas, it's like there's a kaleidoscope of images, long-forgotten outings, aromas, and summer warmth all wanting to come out. Some belong to different times, later years, down by the beach, up the country or in the bush. The smell of eucalyptus is strong, I see the blue haze from the summer heat drifting upwards in an ever encompassing spiral from the gum trees. There's the brown snake, the meat cooking on the barbie, salads, china cups and proper cutlery with "sweets" out in the middle of no-where with not a toilet in site. "Going" behind the bushes, the long grasses tickling one's skin, hoping you didn't wet your shoes.

It wasn't until a few years ago I realised how lucky I was - I'd been all over Victoria (my state) - my dad took us everywhere. If we weren't having the Sunday Roast, which everybody had every Sunday, come rain, hail or shine - we were "going on a picnic". Names, places come back to me now - the Great Dividing Range, the You Yangs, Yan Yean, Ferntree Gully, Sorrento, Rosebud, Sylvan, Bendigo, Geelong, Barwon Heads, Gippsland, Wonthaggi, and lots of other places.

I can see my mum in her "bubble" bathers sitting under a wide beach umbrella on the sand at the beach - don't ask me which beach, there were many and several - with the thermos flasks, a large one with hot water and the smaller one with coffee, sitting on the picnic rug while dad went in for a swim. Dad loved the water, mum hated the heat. Mum couldn't swim so she sat under that striped brolly in the shade and watched the picnic things, shouting instructions to me not to go too far, stay with your father and calling us back when lunch was ready.

Making sand castles and treading the water watching it make furrows on the skin and your toes disappearing into the wet sand, sinking down with little rivulets all around, collecting sea-shells, smelling the saltiness of the sea (a proper grown-up would say "inhaling") but still, this is my memory, my childhood days and I would smell the salt. Watching the frothy waves as they ran in and then gradually fade as they lost their power and the tide went back.

Coming home at the end of the day, red as a beetroot, sunburned but happy. And with a nose that would start to peel the next day! Happy times indeed - fun-filled, frolicking, feverish days of sweet summer Sundays. This is the stuff that dreams are made of.