The Day Before Winter

The day before winter. Cold start, but blue skies. Perfect walking weather. Vanessa and I set off not far south of Adelaide for the Marion Coastal Walk.

image 1704 from bradism.com

The coastal walk is essentially Mount Lofty by the sea, a challenging ~10km return walk. But with more places to park, and a few less groups of dri-fit clothing models in the way. The trail goes up and down some serious sets of stairs. Unlike Lofty, there's no split between up and down, so your heart will be challenged all the way out and back.

image 1705 from bradism.com

We started our walk from Seacliff (in fact, we started it from the top of the infamous Seacliff Zig Zag Path, meaning one more slope to conquer on the way back). The walk goes through Hallet Cove Conservation Park where there is an amazing boardwalk circuit taking in the geological sights of past glaciers. Beyond that is Hallet Cove beach which has some new facilities including a public toilet that plays classical music while you lighten your load for the return trip.

image 1706 from bradism.com

The Marion Coastal Walk is an awesome alternative to Mount Lofty Summit hike, beautiful on a clear day at this time of year, with views out into the gulf.

image 1707 from bradism.com

The last day before winter was also Vanessa's birthday, and there were dog balloons.


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Dog Entry

Weekends are fleeting, but welcome. I tried to fit a bunch of stuff into this last one. The first thing I had to do after work was meet my responsibility as a dog owner, and exercise my puppy. So I found myself, in the very first seconds of my weekend, driving my dog to the park.

As the sun set, my dog played to 100% of her jerk-dog potential. She stole other dogs balls, ran around in circles, was loud and smiling and friends with everyone whether they wanted to be friends back or not. She repeatedly fetched a ball, took it close to the thrower, sat down, then made some poor soccer mum chase her for a minute to get the ball back and repeat the process. Every time this happened, on her way back, she would glance at me with her expressive eyebrows as if to say, I am the LeBron James of being a jerk. You love it.

image 1694 from bradism.com

It's been a while since I laughed until I cried. Thanks dog. We listened to some tunes on our way back to the house, and in a complex world I re-appreciated simple things in life. Like puppies, and steel boxes that let you drive between places quickly, and being able to order chilled beer for pick up over the internet.

The rest of the weekend featured a lot more awesome dog action. I told Vanessa I was going to write a journal entry about it, and to not be upset about the lack of wifey focus. Saturday morning we looped the dog around the block, then left her to a sun patch for the afternoon. Before dinner we walked along the river, where Nash acquainted herself with horses and crows to our further amusement. It was a stunning evening.

image 1696 from bradism.com

Then, this morning after a smoothie, we took Nash to the beach where she darted between the shallow waves, and sniffed all kinds of seaweed, followed by a wash and condition, leaving me even happier with a dog that now smelt of shampoo instead of sand and mud. She retired to a fresh sun patch and ignored us until we walked to Bunnings later and she tried desperately to get the attention of the people running the sausage sizzle, while I bought super glue.

I think what I like and dislike the most about Nash is her independence. She'll come when I call her, but only if she feels like it. Which I think means, the times she does come, is that she actually thinks it's worth coming over for.

Nash probably had a bigger weekend than I did, relatively. Now she will spend the weekdays sleeping and eye-stalking people walking past our house while Vanessa and I drudge it out in the office for five days straight. I envy her lifestyle. She probably envies ours. I guess the moral is, enjoy what you've got while you've got it.

image 1695 from bradism.com

The Wife is also awesome.

A Bladder Full Of Golden Syrup

Giant Anzac cookie on a big plate.

See size of oat for scale.

A sunny Anzac Day left me pondering my own mortality. For the first time in ten years, I wasn't able to eat my annual giant Anzac biscuit in one sitting. After two thirds, and three games of Rummy, I let down Vanessa and had to put the rest under plastic wrap. My stomach couldn't handle it. Even the muscles in my jaw felt tired. Is this because I'm growing old (as they shall not grow old)?

image 1689 from bradism.com

Man, in 2018, Anzac Day is a tricky one, everyone caught between respecting the fallen, and wishing for a world where we'd never killed each other in the first place. Wars have no winners. I'm thankful I live somewhere with peace, where I can hike up a hill on a sunny day, let my dog run free at the park, sit with my wife on the couch and watch basketball. I wish peace for everyone, recognising that might be too simple for our reality. But I'll do what I can, and hope that next year's giant Anzac biscuit finds us all in a better state, and that I can finish it.

image 1690 from bradism.com

If we ever get an annual public holiday to commemorate global peace, I wonder what cookie there'll be to celebrate it and how big Vanessa will bake it.

Marion Bay

There's two things I don't like about the roads on the Yorke Peninsula. One is that they're very bumpy, and two is that there's too much roadworks.

One good thing about these roads is that they took Vanessa and I to Marion Bay for a weekend of walks, beaches and a combination megacouch.

A shoeprint in the sand.

I saw a lot of my own footprints during our hikes in Innes National Park.

It was a nice trip. Not only do they have spectacular cliffs and places to swim, but there's also 4G mobile reception.

image 1682 from bradism.com


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Peaches 2

Finally, unless birds brave tomorrow's heat, I will have peaches to harvest in my own backyard. A dream I have had for over nine years.

image 1674 from bradism.com

Since 2014, Vanessa and I have raised this peach tree. Watered it, pruned it, kept it safe. In a way it's been like a child. And now, heeding the lessons we taught it, it too has produced offspring.

This is every parent's dream. We will pluck them one by one, wait for them to ripen, and then eat the grandchildren.

Hot Jokes

Vanessa wanted a low-fat, healthy dinner so I baked a chicken breast for her. You should have seen her face afterwards when I told her I'd cooked it covered in oil.
"What!?" she said.
"Alf-oil."

December Twenty-One

On the twenty-first of December, I drafted a journal entry. Two days later I’ve finished it, and it ends a little different to how I intended.

December twenty-first started as a beautiful day, a thin smattering of clouds between me and the morning sun gave the world a vibrant glow. The drive to work was short. End of year traffic was light and, unlike most mornings, the other drivers seemed equally unhurried. Similarly in town, pedestrians were smiling, and wearing festive outfits. In the office, friendly chatter echoed among the cubicles. There was no pressure in the air. No looming deadlines. No eyes down, fuzzy spreadsheets, jokes about needing coffee that weren’t laughed at. The shutdown was in sight. People were remembering to be happy.

I thought to myself, December twenty-first might actually be better than Christmas. No stress of preparing big meals and coordinating family members, no long drives and high expectations. No pressure to enjoy your fleeting leave before the calendar drags you back. It felt like a calm before a coming storm. A nice, relaxing calm.

That was, assuming you’d bought all your presents…

Later on, in the waiting room of my second Emergency Department for the night, the good vibes from the AM were a distant memory. Sickness sucks, more for Vanessa - suffering it - than for me who only had to watch on. Thankfully she is home now, not dying, just waiting for a new year to come and specialists to return to work. In the meantime, like for thousands of other people, worries spin in heads.

I thought to myself, it would be nice, to only have to worry about present ideas right now. Nice to only be concerned with coordinating holiday logistics, and the too-quick end of the summer vacation.

So, whatever the situation you find yourself in at the end of 2017, perfect or less, be thankful for the good things. And have patience with the bad. Try and carry with you, both now and as long into Autumn as possible, as much December Twenty-One spirit as you can.