Saturday, December 31, 2011

On the eve of a new year...

I've been thinking lately about the last twelve months, and the changes my life has seen.  Some were unexpected and others were long awaited. Mostly though these changes have brought about a new perspective and a longing for simplicity - again.

Today I bought a cork board.  It's going to become my 2012 vision board and on it, I plan to pin pictures, articles, ideas, motivations.... anything really.  Anything that will help me stick to my plan and stay focused to achieve what I want to achieve!

This year I am going to return back to basics again.  I kind of veered off that roundabout a little this year with so much going on in my personal life, but now that that part has stabilised to some extent, it's time to simplify.  I want to avoid purchasing unnecessary items (money is still very tight), and I want to return to my goal of hand-making as many gifts as I can in my limited free time. I'm starting soon to prepare for next Christmas! I want to cook from scratch as much as possible, and along with that, I am going to avoid too many packaged food products. I've been a bit slack with this!  Nothing I have set for myself is difficult, but it is going to take a bit of time to re-integrate these ideas back into my daily routine.  Bit by bit though, I say...

Our family goal is to be able to afford to spend Christmas and New Year in Louisiana in 2012.  I'm sure we'll get there if we can all stick to our guns. The kids are on board, my sweet man has said he'll do what he can, and I'm ready and rearing to go!

Stay tuned for our progress... oh, and if anyone has any suggestions for blogs or websites that might help me in my planning (food preparation, shopping ideas, handmade gifts etc), then please shoot them my way!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Some days are hard...

Really hard. So hard that I can't even talk about them.  To anyone.  Other days are not so bad. I get by and I get on.  Some days are wonderful and I thank the universe that I live the life that I live. It's on those days that I'm grateful for everything and everyone who is a part of my existence.

Today is one of those not so good days.  The kind that makes you want to retreat and hide from everything. The kind that makes you wonder how you'll get through until tomorrow.  The kind that you really just want to forget about.  

I remind myself though that it takes the bad to be able to appreciate the good, and that eventually I will be able to lay my head down and wake up to a new day.  And who knows what tomorrow will want to share with me?  

It might just be the best day of my life. 


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How the Big W Grinch stole Christmas...

Visit here to express your opinion!

I'm a single, working mother.  The idea of ordering my children's Christmas presents online and paying them off over a period of time, was extremely appealing.  I could budget and I could rest assured that Christmas was going to be relatively sorted.

I ordered in July and dutifully paid off my lay-buy every fortnight, making my final payment on the 28 October as was required.  Delivery was supposed to be completed by the 16th of December.  I went online last week to check the progress of my order as I was getting a little worried.  It just didn't feel like Christmas without toys hidden all over the house!  On the Big W online tracker, it told me that my order had been sitting in a warehouse in Brisbane since the 1st of December - 11 days! I called Big W to query this and was told that my tracking number was incorrect, and that I would receive a call within 24hrs advising me of the correct number.  48hrs later, I still hadn't received a call, so I called again.  This time, I was told that the tracking number was indeed correct, but they were unable to assist me. I was given the number of the courier company, but this number was wrong!  I had to call back.  Again.  I finally got the number and got through to a lovely lady who advised that the order was indeed in the warehouse and she would call me back within 24hrs to advise me of the status of my order.   24hrs later and still no call.  I called again.  I spoke to another helpful girl who told me that in fact, the order was now with their local shipping company and she would call me back within 24hrs to advise of a delivery time.

Can you see the pattern here?

In the meantime, I had sent two emails to Big W, as I refused to spend 2 to 3 hours of my precious time sitting on hold.  Neither of those emails were answered, until today when they emailed quoting the wrong order number, and advising me of the delay! Well, duh!  I called the delivery company again this morning and they told me that my four items would be 'probably' be delivered on Thursday.  My four items?  There were twelve items on my order!  And 'probably'?  What does that mean?  Will I get my items, or won't I?  Will my children get to have Christmas or not?

In fairness, I did receive a call today from Big W who told me exactly the same thing as the courier company.  This was after I sent them another email advising them I had contacted the media.  And boy, did I contact the media!  Every local radio station, local news stations and A Current Affair!  Big W made no offer of compensation, no apology, no offer of a refund or credit voucher, and certainly no guarantee that I would receive my order on Thursday. I'm certainly not the only one experiencing this though.  Check out the link underneath the picture above.  Some families have had their orders cancelled without their knowledge, and without promise of a refund in time to go shopping again!

I don't know what to do at this point. 
I can only wait and see what happens on Thursday.   I chose this method to avoid the mad Christmas crowds, and who knows if there will be anything decent left on the shelves anyway??  I've been a dedicated Big W and Woolworths shopper for years.  I'm not anymore.

I know that Christmas is not really about the presents but the point is that a multi-million dollar company has made empty promises to hundreds of families. People that have done their darndest to try to provide their families with the best Christmas they could, and who now may not have anything under the Christmas tree come Christmas morning.

Shame on you, Big W!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

My year of living gratefully

I've started a new blog. I certainly won't be ignoring this little baby, but I've decided to try something a little different. One picture for everyday. Each picture will be of something that I'm grateful for - be it big or small.

I hope you'll have a look, and I hope you'll be inspired to count your blessings too.

You can find it here - My Year of Living Gratefully

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Fire of Friendship by Paulo Coelho

“A man called Ali is in need of money and asks his boss to help him out. His boss sets him a challenge: if he can spend all night on the top of a mountain, he will receive a great reward; if he fails, he will have to work for free. When he left the shop, Ali noticed that an icy wind was blowing. He felt afraid and decided to ask his best friend, Aydi, if he thought he was mad to accept the wager.

After considering the matter for a moment, Aydi answered: ‘Don’t worry, I’ll help you. Tomorrow night, when you’re sitting on top of the mountain, look straight ahead. I’ll be on the top of the mountain opposite, where I’ll keep a fire burning all night for you. Look at the fire and think of our friendship; and that will keep you warm. You’ll make it through the night, and afterwards, I’ll ask you for something in return.’”

Ali won the wager, got the money, and went to his friend’s house. ‘You said you wanted some sort of payment in return.’ Aydi said, ‘Yes, but it isn’t money. Promise that if ever a cold wind blows through my life, you will light the fire of friendship for me.’”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Vegetable Patch

What do you do when you have an ugly spot like this in the yard? You make a vegie patch!

After a trip to trusty Bunnings, we came home well equipped and ready to go!

We edged the area and then added cow manure and organic soil. This was the chicken's last foray before they were banned from the area for good!

We planted lettuce, strawberries, zucchini, cucumber, eggplant, capsicum, tomatoes, basil, thyme and chives.

The last step was to add some trusty chicken wire to keep those curious chooks out!

Now we can just sit back and watch it grow....

Sunday, October 30, 2011

How much fun can you have with $300?


So we went and bought ourselves a little old caravan on eBay. For $152.50! We had all sorts of hopes and dreams for her too. You saw the pictures. I was off in Gypsy Land. I go there sometimes, and it's a wonderful place. Freedom... With nowhere particular to go, and no schedules or deadlines. Just a whim. A fancy. I have no doubts I'll end up there for good one day. Just me and my man wandering the countryside, making our own little discoveries.

Not this time though.

We bought the 'old girl' on eBay, with the hopes that she'd be a keeper. A vintage beauty that we could restore, and turn into our own little home on wheels. We bought her one weekend and on the following one, we headed north to check her out. And that's where the fun started.

You see, there's not too many places to stay in Childers. A couple of dodgy little motels is about all I could find online. wasn't really much help either. So I hit up our trusty old search engine, Google, and found a pub to stay in. For $60 we could have a balcony room at The Grand Hotel. Sounded pretty cool to me. I'd never stayed in a pub before, and this one was haunted to boot! There had been several sightings over the years, and then there was the interesting phenomenon of the lightning strikes. Once in October 1997, and again in October 2004.... Would it happen again while we were there? How could we not stay there? It was a given.

We rolled up at about 4pm and paid our nightly board at the bar, and were told it was quite safe to park the car on the street, because 'you know, it's Childers and all'... Our room was on one side of the balcony and on the other, there lived an old man. You could tell he'd been there for a while too. He had his recliner, his radio, his esky (full of Bundy Rum and coke) and his newspapers. He was set, well and truly. We decided to settle in too. We unpacked a little, pulled up a stool and sat on that balcony and watched life in Childers pass us by.

We never did see any ghosts that night though, and even when Mother Nature opened the heavens in one almighty storm in the early hours, we weren't struck by lightning. We did however wake up to grey skies and howling winds, and wondered how we would get the photos we wanted to take of our little retro princess. Especially with no freshly brewed coffee under our belts! We found a bakery, ate a sausage roll and a pastie, had some bad coffee and headed out to Apple Tree Creek, to see our lovely little van.

In the middle of nowhere, we found her. First though, we were greeted by her previous owners who immediately conjured visions of the Soggy Bottom Boys.

We were in Australian red neck country. Well and truly. The van was in the back of the yard and from the outside she was beautiful. All my gypsy visions came rolling in.... On the inside though, she was rotten. Through and through.

The years she'd spent sitting in the pasture hadn't been kind, and it didn't take us long to realise that she wasn't going to make a trip home to the Gold Coast. We chatted to our country friends for a while and after coffee and biscuits, we headed home. Not dejected, but full of enthusiasm.

We were going to put her back on eBay! We were armed with photos and information, and decided that the only thing we could do, was to try and sell her for more than what we'd bought her for. We took our time coming home though, stopping off at Woodgate Beach for a paddle, and some shell collecting. We stopped and bought a tray of mangoes, and we browsed through an antique shop in Gympie. For dinner we ate red emperor and coconut prawns on the banks of the Noosa River, and we drove home through one hell of a thunder storm.

Over the next couple of days we gathered our thoughts, and then armed with a barrage of arsenal, we put the old girl back on eBay. Within hours we had 15 watchers, and our first bid came in on the second day. Just before the auction ended, we had 79 watchers! We sold our little van for $305, and literally doubled our money.

Our little risk paid for our weekend, and gave us memories that will last us a lifetime. I'm sure some thought we were mad. I guess we are a little, but that's what makes life so worth living. We still don't have our little, longed-for holiday home, but nothing will replace the fun we had on $300!

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Don't you just love it?

I love stirring up the pot and getting people to think, to feel and to express. I've had a bit of criticism about my blog recently and despite what people may think, I love it! It means people are reading what I write.

I must admit, I did get a little upset by the mysterious comment from 'anon' a few weeks ago though. I'm all for free speech, and I'm definitely one who endorses freedom of opinion and freedom of expression. If I wasn't, I wouldn't be a blogger! What did upset me though was the lack of courage that 'anon' displayed. After all, if you have something to say, don't be afraid to say it. More importantly though, don't be afraid to own your words.

If you feel strongly enough about something, then say it. Tell everyone. But screw what they might think! What they think doesn't matter in the slightest. It's true. What matters most is that you've been strong enough and confident enough in yourself to be able to express what is important to you.

Controversy is good. Debate is good. Difference of opinion is good. Being able to express everything that is important to you, AND put your name to it, is even better! Be true to who you are. Don't be afraid to rock the boat. Don't be afraid to create a little bit of upheaval or a bit of controversy. And don't be afraid to be the one that starts it.

To me that's the most exciting part!

Bring it on!

It's that gypsy blood again...

The gypsy in me has gone and made me buy a caravan. Not just any caravan either. Nope... This little beauty is about four hours north of here, is about 50 years old, and is in dire need of some TLC!

Don't you think she's cute though?

I'm already imagining what we'll be able to do with her. Obviously we need to work out a way to get her home first, but when we do, I think she's going to become a beautiful labour of love. The other half of this little gypsy duo wants to do her up and sell her, but I have a feeling I might become a little attached during her make-over and want to keep her.

I've been scouring vintage caravan websites and my mind is over-flowing with decorating ideas. Do we go retro? Do I try and sneak in a little bit of shabby chic? Do we stick with keeping her original? Or do we go totally modern?

I love this look, but I think Mr Gypsy might find it a bit too girly.

Then again, I love this too. Maybe this might be more his style?

One thing I do know for sure though.... This is going to be fun!!!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

The ribbon

So when you find that other end of your silvery soul ribbon and you've tied them back together, what do do you do when they come undone? Do you leave them, and let those two souls float apart, never to be reunited? Or do you go to the ends of the earth to find that other wispy, lonely ribbon, and tie them back together again?

What would life be like if you left it? If you didn't chase it, and both ribbons were just left floating around, lost and alone. What if others told you to just forget it? That you'll never find it. Would life be the same? Could you feel whole? Could you get through life knowing that one day, just one day, you might find each other again? Maybe this lifetime, maybe not?

And what if you did find it, and tied that knot back together? Tighter this time. Could you ever risk them coming undone again? And what do you do to make sure the knot stays firm?

You have faith. You have hope. And you have love. The greatest of those is love.

It's the only thing that will keep those ribbons tied.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Letter to 'Anon'...

In response to this comment left on last night's post -

Anon said...

"I am a friend, who offers support and love whenever possible." Glad you included whenever possible, but it should say whenever you could be bothered.

Dear Anon

I said, 'whenever possible', because it isn't always possible to offer the love and support that everyone needs, all the time. Quite often we need to learn to love and support ourselves before we are capable of giving it out. If our own tanks are empty, we have nothing to give. It's as simple as that.

You are obviously someone who I have hurt or disappointed in the past. If this is the case, then I am sorry. You must know me to some extent, but how much of me do you really understand? Do you understand on an intimate level, what pains and heartaches I have been through? Are you aware of the amount of inner strength I've needed to call upon to get through the last 8 months, or even the last 8 days? Sometimes we all need to turn inside and work through the darkness on our own, and sometimes this means that we need to shut others out. Turn our backs on the distractions, and deal with our own demons. Maybe you've misread my indifference to you?

If my blog upsets you, then you have the choice not to read it. I don't always share what I write for the benefit of others. I write it for myself. It's a way for me to clear my mind, put things in perspective, and make sense of the everyday. And it doesn't always make sense!

Like I said in last nights post - I'm not perfect.

I just do the best I can.

Sending you love,
The Everyday Mum

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I am amazing!

I am a mother, who would do anything for her children.

I am a friend, who offers support and love whenever possible.

I am a lover, who gives and receives affection with all my heart and soul.

I am a daughter, who strives to be what my parents dreamed I'd grow up to be.

I am a sister, who will always believe that my brother is capable of anything he puts his mind to.

I am an ex-wife, who credits so much of my growth to a wonderful man.
I am a worker, who tries to achieve what is expected of me.

I am a woman, who has accepted my ‘womanliness’ with everything it deserves.
I am a human being, who treats all others with the respect and dignity they are entitled to.

I'm not perfect. But I am me. And I'm amazing!

Say it to yourself... "I am amazing!"

Feels good, doesn't it?

Sunday, August 14, 2011


We sit outside on the porch everynight. It's our favourite time of day. We sit on our broken down old couch and light a fire to crackle in front of us . We face north and at a certain time in the evening, a bright star moves her way up over the roof top in front of us. We have watched her move through the sky, and she's been appearing earlier and earlier each night. We always comment when we see her - 'our star'.

Thanks to the magic of the internet and the iPhone, we found out a little more about our star. I used my Pocket Universe app and we tracked the night sky above us, then we googled and found her story. It's beautiful, and her name is Vega.

She is the brightest star in the constellation of Lyra, and will be the North Star in about 12,000 years. Vega was also the first star other than the Sun, to be photographed and the first to have her spectrum recorded. All interesting facts, if you're into astronomy. But I'm not quite so easily pleased. I wanted to know about her mythology. I found several versions, but the one that seemed to draw me in more was her Chinese love story. In this version, Vega is separated from her lover, Altair, and their children, and can only be reunited once a year in mid-summer. On this day each year the magpies build them a bridge, and across this, they meet each other through the Milky Way.

We've ruminated on Vega's story for a while now, and we look forward to seeing her each night and reminding ourselves of the power of destiny. Just the other night though, as we realised our visits from Vega were going to soon end, we noticed another brighter star appearing below her, rising in almost the same place. This star is Deneb. He is the brightest star in the constellation of Cygnus, and he is 60,000 times more luminous than our Sun. More significantly though, Deneb is the star that marks the magpie bridge that allows Vega and Altair to be reunited on that one night a year! The story was coming to life right in front of us.

So tonight, on the eve of my beloved's departure, as we watch the full moon rise in it's golden glory, and await the arrival of Vega and Deneb, we ponder on where he will find them in his part of the sky - 10,000 miles away from here. I know how Vega feels when she is separated from Altair, and I'm getting sad realising that I need to feel that way again for a little while.

I just need to remember his perfect words to me last night...

"Baby, it doesn't matter where we are, we can find each other in the stars".

Monday, August 8, 2011

Foolproof choc chip cookies

My friend Kelley shared this recipe with me a little while ago and I've since made them 3 or 4 times. It's a winner in this household and makes enough cookies to last almost a week. They're not something you'd choose if you're on a health kick, but at least I know what's in them, and a little bit of butter and sugar isn't going to hurt anyone if eaten in moderation. Well, that's what I tell myself anyway...

Let me share the recipe with you -

Kelley's Choc Chip Cookies

500 grams of butter
1.5 cups of sugar
1/4 cup sweetened condensed milk
4 cups self raising flour
1 whole packet of choc bits

Cream the butter, sugar and condensed milk together in a large bowl. Fold in the flour cup by cup and then add the choc bits. You'll need to get your hands in toward the end to form a nice cookie dough. Measure out walnut sized balls and place on a tray lined with baking paper. Using a floured fork, press them down lightly. Cook in a 170-180 degree oven for about 12 minutes. My oven is a little unpredictable so I keep an eye on them after 10 minutes so that they don't over cook. You want them a little golden but not too brown. Let them cool a little on the tray before moving them to a rack to cool. Or, if you're like me and can't resist, let them cool enough so you don't burn your fingers, and then sample them while the chocolate is still all melty! This recipe makes about 60 decent sized cookies, and they'll keep in an air-tight container for up to a week - if they last that long!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Love You

There's so much that I love.

Right now I love this band.

Check them out -

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Ebay gold!

This is my son. He is holding a rock that he found at school. He was doing something he shouldn't have been doing, in a place that he wasn't supposed to be. Typical. He was pretty pleased with his find though, and came home full of questions.

'What is it, Mum? Could it be fool's gold? Maybe a piece of moon rock? Or do you think it just might be scrap metal?'... We tested it's magnetic capabilities, pondered over it's make-up, and wondered where on earth (or space!) it came from. It certainly looked as though it could be any of those things.

He's a strange and curious soul, this little man, and his lifelong ambition is to be another Bear Grylls. When you ask him what he wants to do when he finishes school, he will tell you that he wants to be an explorer. He dreams of discovery and can't wait until he is 18 and will be 'allowed' to travel the world.

In an effort to keep those dreams of his alive, we decided to do a little experiment and see if he could make some money to start his travel fund. So we put the rock on ebay. People sell all sorts of stuff on there right? Why not a rock?

We watched the auction day and night, and while we all fantasised about it making thousands of dollars, or trading it for a house (remember the Red Paper Clip guy?), realistically we thought it might only reach our starting bid of 99c. Well, the rock sold for $26, and we had one very happy little boy. It was bought by a man in Central Queensland.

This was his eBay feed back -

"thanks item received as pictured good luck exploring to the young fella"

Who knows why he bought it? Maybe he collects moon rocks, or is a metal expert? Or maybe he just wanted to make a little boy's dreams come to life? It really doesn't matter though. What matters is that we did it. We tried something a little bit 'out there', and it worked. At the same time, we also showed our future world explorer, that if you want to succeed at something, you first need to give it a go!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

Is it holy water?

Has it been blessed by the Pope? Or is it tinged with gold?

It must be, because water now costs more than land. I'm sure I'm not the only one in my city to cry when they received their latest water bill, and I'm sure I'm not the only who, quite simply, cannot afford to pay it.

I received my first water bill six months ago and baulked at the $800 I was told I needed to pay in less than four weeks. But I paid it. On time and in full. I guess I figured they knew what they were doing, and even though it was expensive, I gave them the benefit of the doubt and assumed they'd gotten it right.

This time though, I'm not quite so forgiving. My bill is $1015. You know that feeling you get when you're heart skips a beat and you, just for split second, lose consciousness? Well, that's how I felt when I opened the envelope and saw the amount. Gobsmacked. How could my water bill have gone up $200 when during the peak of the consumption period, we had torrential rain and flooding!? Nobody, and I mean NOBODY, watered their gardens, topped up their tanks, filled up their pools or hosed the driveway for nearly 2 months! Excess water usage? I doubt it. It's just plain ludicrous.

So what is the answer? What do you do when you have a bill that you can't afford, and feel has been unjustly charged? Well, I'm going to fight it. I'm not sure how yet, but I will. Anyone want to join me?

Watch this space...

Monday, June 6, 2011

Your children are not your children...

Caleb, Jai and Isla.... Lovingly designed by Argnesh of Give Them Wings.

"Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit,
not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth."

~ Excerpt from The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Monday, May 30, 2011

The right place

I'm right where I'm meant to be.

It might not be perfect. It might not be ideal. But it's exactly where I am supposed to be. And I am ever so grateful.

I was given the opportunity to seal my own fate and forge my own path. So I did. No second guessing, no listening to doubters, no worry for the 'what ifs'. I listened to my gut, trusted that it was right, and let my intuition guide me.

I made a choice that affected not only me, but my children, their father, my family, my lover and his family. Not once though, did I doubt that I was doing the right thing. I certainly had moments of lesser clarity, but they were more than outweighed by the feeling of 'rightness' that I felt through every cell.

If there is such a thing as a 'miracle of love', then I'm in the middle of it.
It surrounds me with such joy and brightness.

I've met a man who has turned his life upside down to be with me, and whose devotion is overwhelming. We found each other and our unexpected connection has tied those silvery soul ribbons back together again. It's simply the most beautiful experience.

I have three beautiful, unique and vibrant children, who despite the change their little lives have undergone, are still blossoming. They are full of love for me, and they are so accepting of what life is offering them now. Their eyes are bright and their hearts are open. I'm so proud to be their mother.

I have an 'ex' husband, who in most people eyes should be devastated and bitter. But he has embraced this change as much as I have and is excitedly moving on with his own new journey. We can, and do, talk openly about everything, and we share our feelings and emotions better than we ever have. For this I am incredibly thankful.

I have a wonderful family who I have thrown into a level of chaos, but who have in their own time, shown me support and love and understanding. It's been tough for them to comprehend my choices, but their concerns are only borne out of love. This is perfectly ok.

In fact, everything is ok. Actually, it's more than ok. It's just wonderful.

I'm right where I'm meant to be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The curve ball...

Ever had one of these thrown at you? I have. A big one was lobbed at me about three months ago, and I'm still reeling. Right when you think life is rolling along just fine, the universe decides to rock the boat. Don't you hate that?

I guess you're all wondering where I've been and why I haven't been posting. If I told you everything though, I'd be writing a novel. Or maybe a screen play of Day's of Our Lives proportions. Seriously.

Life has always been kind to me, and I've never been one to wallow. I know that change is good, and things definitely don't happen just by chance as there is always a higher purpose. Sometimes it's hard understanding just what that purpose is, but the finding out certainly makes for interesting times!

When things seemingly come out of nowhere, you have to sit back and take them all in. Embrace them and just roll. So that's what I did. My husband and I have separated. We are still best friends and always will be, but there comes a point sometimes when it's best to move on. It's nobody's fault. It's just one of those things. One of those curve balls again, and while it was something that had been simmering away in the background for a while, neither of us really saw that ball flying through the window.

It's going to take time to adjust to this new life, but I'm ready. I have so much love from friends and family and the support I've been offered has been quite overwhelming at times. I have a wonderful network of people and I want to thank you all. On top of all of this, I've also been blessed with the love of someone special, but that's a whole other episode!

So there you have it... This Everyday Mum might not be so 'everyday' after all!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Points for trying

Here is my oldest son. His hero is Bear Grylls. He lives and breaths adventure at the moment, and is literally counting down the days until he is 18 and can go and discover the big, wide world. The entire schools holidays were spent pouring over his survival guides, watching Man vs Wild, packing, and re-packing his backpack. He has drawn maps, written lists and planned every adventure down to the last detail. He even made a raft out of old pieces of wood from the yard, and plans to use it to sail to England. Oh yes... he is THAT keen!

This particular night he decided that he was no longer satisfied with sleeping in his tent on the back deck, so he rigged himself up a hammock out of an old bed sheet. He tied the knots, tested them for strength, and kitted himself out with torches, books, pillows and blankets. When night fell, he couldn't wait to get in it and sleep.

We humoured him of course, and made a bid deal out of how clever he was, and how proud of him Bear Grylls would be. He read by torch light for a little and then prepared for sleep. He lasted about 30 minutes. Apparently the mosquitos were bothering him too much. We gave him plenty points for trying though, and off to bed he went to dream of far off places.