Ah January, you’re a funny old bugger. I find your laconic, childful ways rather frustrating at times. I do love my activity and my routine, that’s just how I am, so when I’m one day sitting down to a long lunch and the next day lugging gas bottles in my nightie, I’m very often having to take a deep breath and remind myself to practice ‘radical acceptance’ (look it up, it’s a thing) and take opportunities as they arise.
And learn from them.
My latest challenge is The Shack. It’s in capital letters because it actually is THE Shack, as in the best, most authentic shack in the whole world. It really is. Here’s why:
- It has a distinct intrepid-ness about it on account of being best accessed by boat and having power only when a noisy old sheila called Jenny is fuelled up and in a good mood. It has jackjumpers, a boatshed with lots of dubious rusty stuff in it and a squeaky-slammy screen door that must never be chocked open on account of possums sniffing out our BBQ shapes (or worse, our celery or cucumber – we need celery for the midday bloody marys and cucumber for the Pimms).
- We can see our house and farm from The Shack, which is handy if there is a fire in the region or the cows have been put in the wrong paddock. Also handy if you need to pop home to grab some more milk or something. This morning I awoke with a bladder infection (I’m being frank about it because it is a common cross that women have to bear and I don’t think it should be a secret) and I was able to canoe across to the beach and walk some of the way home (my sister in law rescued me in her car when I’d got up the track a bit on account of needing to wee a lot) and drive another 20 minutes to the doctor. HANDY.
- It was built by my father in law and extended and maintained by his wife and children. It has more memories in it than you can poke a memory stick at and has seen more action than the MCG.
- The kids ADORE it. Cousins regroup and find new things in common, they learn general outdoorsiness and imagination and how to start an outboard motor, how you can use a crayfish tentacle to mark the crease in beach cricket and how it’s funny to call a buoy a boo-ey like Americans do. Awesome stuff like that.
Here’s the stuff I have learnt because of The Shack:
- Pimm was a farmer’s son from Kent, England, who created Pimms from gin, fruits and spices and sold it as a digestive aid to bankers working nearby. There were other Pimms “cups” too – number 1 is the traditional gin one we all know, number 2 was based on scotch, 3 brandy, 4 rum, 5 rye whisky and 6 (still in production) is vodka.
- Those mongrel bladder infections (according to my sister-in-laws and I) appear to be exacerbated by sandy environs. Sandy clackers mixed with sandy penises don’t mix people.
- At the shack, after you’ve yelled “Brush your teeth” at the children, you have to follow it up with, “Brush your feet”, which involves a bit of fancy foot-on-bunk-ladder work but is worth it to save all the bloody kids getting up again in another half hour.
- I will no longer look down my snooty nose at personal water crafts (PWC) i.e. jet skis. They are much quieter these days – no louder than a speed boat – and they don’t use nearly as much fuel. And I had a ride on one and it was SUCH FUN and I had to hold tight to my man like every woman likes to once in a while.
- How to change an enormous gas bottle. Which meant I had to learn the difference between a wrench and a spanner and a shifter. Which is apparently (according to google) none. Anyway, it was the adjustable wrench or shifter that we needed. No one says spanner anymore, a lot like knob. It also meant that my sister-in-law Sarah and I had to laugh like teenagers about how the male part of the gas pipe looks a lot like a tiny doodle and how the male and female talk that tradies go on with is pretty bloody funny.
- Here’s where I pretend to be a food blogger when all credit actually goes to kitchen-genius Sarah. Use panko breadcrumbs on your fish – they are crunchier, but only if you have the oil hot enough and you don’t overload the pan. Find panko crumbs in the Japanese section of your local shop, if it has one. If it doesn’t, you might have to go to Coles but don’t but their brands by any means, they will FAIL in the kitchen no matter how hot your oil is. Panko crumbs, just because I want to show my foodie mettle, are made without crusts. Well that should keep the kids happy, they always leave their crusts.
- 500 piece puzzles are brilliant. Any more than that and you have to pack it away unfinished because you’ll need the table for dinner.
- Nothing about boats. I seem to shut down when I’m on a boat. Too many things can go wrong caused by me. I know to put the bung in and screech at children to HOLD ON but that’s about it. Herein is a bit of learning I need to attend to. One day.
Did I mention that my bladder and I are recuperating at home ALONE. HOME ALONE. OMG you know what this means people – I am having my own personal PARTY sans kids and anyone who things my alone stuff is weird. Which is most people no doubt. But I’m too excited for propriety. I can see my family’s little Jenny-lit light over the water and I yearn a weeny bit but mostly I am playing the perfect host to myself. Me and I are having a wow of a time. A WOW. Oh wait, the light just went out. What poopers, “Groove Tonight” just came on. Lucky I didn’t get up at dawn’s crack to empty the cray pots.
Here’s a taste of my alone time:
And here’s what I learnt from my alone time:
- I’m a dick.
- There is a truly genius CD that I recently acquired called “Sounds of the 80’s” which features “Unique covers of classic hits”. Get it. It has that brilliant version of “Islands in the Stream” by The Shires and also a version of Bon Jovi’s “Lay Your Hands on Me” by Dolly Parton and Richie Sambora.
Don’t worry, there’s only so much alone time me and I can take. They get jack of one another. I’ll go back in the morning. There is way more Shack Stuff to learn before I’m assigned the much coveted, good ol’ Aussie title of Shackie.
And I’m looking forward to it.
And please, don’t get all cutesy and quasi-humble with your million dollar beach house and call it a shack. That’s just a sleight on the real deal.
That’s quite enough from me. Night night January, see you in the morning. x