Happy Cup Day!

The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the horses are getting excited, the forecast is for rain … and I’m at work. Melbourne Cup Day is not a University holiday. We do get the public holiday, but they give it to us between Christmas and New Year (along with the Queen’s Birthday holiday and the former Melbourne Show Day holiday) so that we aren’t forced to take leave when the University officially shuts down during that period. I’m not phased by it really, as it is very quiet here today and students are away studying for their exams. Technically, the History Honours students have to hand in their theses to me today, but because all the book binders close down for the long weekend, the students have all been given an extension until tomorrow, so I probably won’t see any of them today … But I do have the chocolate frogs ready to congratulate them with!

Yesterday I took a flexi-day (equivalent to a RDO) and was able to go away for the weekend to the Tarra Valley with some close friends. What a beautiful place! So peaceful and relaxing, and just a really simple and pretty setting to camp in. We set off early Saturday morning and arrived at the caravan park/campsite at about 10:30am. My never-before-used-outdoors tent was ceremoniously erected and we talked about the possibility of a mud-throwing ritual to make it really look used and dirty and well-loved. It turns out that it had “New Tent” emblazened on it in bird speak, as it was well and truly covered in bird droppings by the next morning! It was nice to have finally used this tent, because it has been in my possession since Christmas 2000, when my now ex-boyfriend gave it to me. Great gift, but it has taken me nearly four years to actually use it. Putting it up that one time in my lounge room didn’t count!

The weekend was spent lazing in hammocks (Tip: don’t sit a tube of toothpaste next to you in the hammock as a reminder to brush your teeth after lunch, because you will undoubtedly end up sitting on it and getting toothpaste all over your bum), reading books, playing cards (Trish repeatedly exclaims, “Billionaire!”, to the disgust of others playing the same game), walking to some falls and taking a few pictures (camera on a tripod and a dash over the stream to the rest of the group before the timer went off) … Some of the men went fishing and caught an eel, a brown trout and a fresh-water cray. These were BBQ-ed or boiled appropriately and offered to each of us; the freshwater cray at dinner time and the trout and eel for breakfast. I tasted a bit of the cray (reminded me of times in my childhood when friends of the family would have caught a salt-water cray or two off Killarney and we’d all sit around eating it), but passed on the trout and eel, especially at breakfast time!

We were often disturbed by the manner in which our camping neighbours spoke to their young children; though as none of us are parents yet, our disussions were littered with, “I’m not a parent, so I don’t know the reality…” and so on. My understanding is that sarcasm is lost on children, and is not an effective way to communicate the answers to their many questions. It just makes it sound like they are a great inconvenience … It is more disturbing, however, when young children give as good as they get with sarcastic remarks … We quietly sat in judgement of these people and that wasn’t at all fair to them. We all do it at times though, don’t we? When we witness parents reprimanding their children in public and so on. At the very least, this made us each file away something for when we face parenthood (sooner for some) and will need help, advice, and the memory of times when we reacted like this, to ensure that we are good parents.


~ by pincushiondiary on November 2, 2004.

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