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Sunset over the Crossroads tent on Easter Sunday

What an amazing week I have had at Bluesfest! The weather was perfect (no rain), the company was delightful, the music was great, and the whole experience was healing. While I realise that ‘healing’ is not a word that is normally associated with music festivals, in this case it is very apt. I have returned home feeling lighter in my soul, clearer in my mind, and more centred than I have been for a long time. My mother has likened it to a trip to a health spa, and if you ignore the beers and burgers that I drank and ate, she is right!

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Blue skies, feet up in hammock – bliss!

The highlight of the festival was, of course, the music, but being with lovely people, having a good night’s sleep in my trailer tent, and being able to truly relax (the hammock got a work out) were all important. I saw some bands and artists I had never heard of, and others who I have been familiar with for a long time. Some I saw on my own, others with friends. Some nights I was content to go to bed early and listen to the jangling sounds of 6 stages all playing at once, while other nights I stayed to listen to the last notes. A dear friend of mine has attended each of the previous festivals that I have attended, and managed to attend for one day this time, continuing our great tradition – so we had to get a ‘selfie’ to capture it!

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Our Bluesfest ‘selfie’

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Elvis Costello on the final night

My musical highlights? Steve Earle (I saw both his sets), Charlie Musselwhite, Jack Johnson (his connection with the audience was the reason I stayed up to listen to every note), Elvis Costello, Beth Hart (powerful voice and rocking band), Jake Bugg (brilliant musician but too young to have a stage presence yet), Booker T Jones (such a great sound), Aaron Neville (so romantic and swoony)and for both amusement and musical memories, KC and the Sunshine Band (although I did object to his scantily clad raunchy dancers and their antics on feminist grounds). But my stand-out? An artist called ‘Passenger’. I had heard one of his songs on the radio before so went along out of interest. Wow. He had the thousands of people in the tent in the palm of his hand. One man and a guitar, getting the whole tent to sing along with him – including on a song he had written that morning. He covered “Sounds of Silence” and the tent was almost silent, and then at the end played a song he is about to release called “Whisper”, followed by a song called “Holes” and I was in tears! I highly recommend having a listen to his music – just a delightful, authentic voice and talent.

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A very blurry shot of Passenger holding the crowd in the palm of his hand with amazing music and lyrics

I read, crocheted, slept, danced, and relaxed. At some point over the weekend I wrote a note to myself on my iPad that simply says “Be kind to yourself”. I can’t remember what prompted that, but they are definitely words to live by. I had all sorts of wise insights while driving, and relaxing, and remember very few of them, so I am glad that the only one that I wrote down is the best of all the thoughts!

My trip home had some added adventure with a midnight breakdown, two rides in tow trucks, a motel that my road side assistance service organised for me to check into at 3am, and some very helpful auto-electricians who fixed my car and allowed me to get home. Despite all of this potential stress I remained calm, and, apart from being extremely tired, wasn’t adversely affected by it all!

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My car and trailer waiting for the second tow truck ride – one hour from home but so far away!

I have bought my ticket for next year’s festival already. They won’t start to announce the artists until August, but I have looked at the previous lineups for this festival and have never seen one that I wouldn’t be happy to attend. The savings of buying early well and truly outweigh the risk that there will be artists that I don’t want to see! Plus my festival friends will be there again (our group grows a little each year) and I will be encouraging all of you to join me!

And now I am home, the chicks have returned, and we have three more days until they return to school. In between spending time with them I am starting to get the house and the sewing room back into order so that I can get back into creating this week. My head is full of ideas and I am itching to start working on some of them! I also have this overwhelming desire to get more organised…… so stand by for some further de-cluttering, making up of schedules (that may or may not be followed) and some planning (of course) to get that urge under control!

Before I sign off I should add that the chicks had a wonderful Easter break too. Their father and step-mother took them down to Victoria for some time with their grandparents and cousin, then to Melbourne for a couple of days where they got to see some football games (the first big AFL game for the boy), go to the Zoo and the Aquarium, and ride the trams everywhere. They really had some great adventures.

I hope that you have had a wonderful Easter weekend, safe travels, and lovely adventures.

A break!

As I sit to type out this post at the computer it feels like it has been weeks since I last wrote.  I almost began the post with an apology for my absence, and then realised that it has only been a few days since my last post!  Why did I think that I had been absent for ages?  Because the chicks and I had a break.  Just what we all needed.

After the flurry of activity to prepare for the markets 10 days ago, the chicks returned from their father’s house with their feathers all ruffled and out of sorts.  As we worked through some of the issues last week I realised that we needed a circuit breaker.  A chance to regroup.  I decided that I needed to bend the rules and create our own long weekend and go camping.  So we did!  Friday afternoon we left Canberra and drove up and over the mountain range that separates us from the coastline, navigating winding steep roads, while towing our beloved camper trailer.  It was the best decision I have made in a while!

We arrived while it was still light, and started the set up, during the windiest period of the weekend!  (Of course that was after I had managed to lose control of the trailer while manoeuvring it into place – without chocking the wheels…….  my usual dramatic arrival was achieved.  Luckily a neighbouring tent rope and a tree stopped it from actually hitting the beach.  The only injury was to my pride.  Again.)  The girls helped me to get the tent up despite the flapping canvas and flying poles, while the boy found his new best friends and started digging a hole in the sand.

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The view from the tent on Saturday morning – children (including mine) digging a hole in the sand.

We had the perfect day on Saturday – investigating rock pools, digging holes in the sand, riding our surf mats, swimming in the pool, playing cards with fierce competition and having pancakes for dinner!

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The three chicks delighted in each new find, sharing their discoveries with each other.

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The clear waters of a rock-pool full of seaweed

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The boy was so excited to find a crab nipper ‘that still works!’.

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The eldest chick found a piece of beautiful blue shell with a delicate sea weed attached to it.

0178cecb004fd110e034b1acdc31ed9e857b5f6d9bThe boy looked in vain for an anemone.

The boy was ready to try riding the waves for the first time, but got dumped by a large wave and was very upset.  After a small rest on the sand, and listening to some instructions about how to catch a wave from me, he went back out there and had a ball!  By this stage his new friends from the first night were now part of the family, and we got to share their fire to toast marshmallows that night.  I forgot to take any charger cords for our various i-devices so I only have photos from the first day, but the girls had a great time trying to capture the perfect scene on their iPods in between appearing in a sandy heap at the door of the tent to request food.

By Sunday morning we had giant waves, and a strong undertow, thanks to a cyclone in New Zealand, so there was no sea play, but we made up for that lack of excitement with a trip to the nearest emergency room after the middle chick had a large crash off her skateboard, going down a hill.  X-rays and many hours later, nothing was broken, and we all returned to camp, to discover that we had missed the rain, and were in time for the rainbow.

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We made up for our missed opportunities on Monday (I gave the kids a day off school) by climbing up to the top of the cliffs and watching the waves, looking for whales and dolphins and exclaiming about everything we saw!  We had a leisurely pack up and didn’t leave until mid-afternoon, squeezing one last swim in the pool in before we left.

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The middle chick and the boy investigating new finds on the beach on Monday morning after a super high tide in the night.

There is something magical about sleeping under canvas, listening to crashing waves, finding what has been washed up on the beach in the night, and being together in one space.  It helped to do a bit of healing that we all needed, patching up some spots in the family that had been rubbing thin.  We all agreed that we need to do it again – soon.  And often.

All of that time living the simple life gave me time to think, to overthink, to reassess, to plan, then forget the plan.  I have been off work for quite a while now.  I am slowly getting stronger, but the littlest thing can still push me backwards – and big things have a huge effect.  It means that processing the options and trying to plan the way forward is hard – there are so many unknowns!  If only writing a blog, sewing bags and bibs, talking about creating, recycling, sharing and having a love of fabric could support my little family!  I am sure it will one day, but for now the future is uncertain and I am trying to remember to do one thing at a time.  Recognising how far I have come is useful – 3 months ago I couldn’t imagine taking the chicks camping as the organisation required was overwhelming.  This time, I just kept things simple, and when I realised that we had forgotten something, just improvised.  (Hence pancakes for dinner!)

For now, doing one thing at a time means that I have an awful lot of sewing to get through in the next week, with a number of custom orders ready to go (if only the FedEx man and I can coordinate our schedules better – I missed him by 7 minutes today), and a request to restock my bibs in the Handmade Shop!  (So exciting!!)

I also need to list all the stock that I have made in my Etsy shop.  Don’t forget that there is a sale on until Friday – making room for the new things coming……

I hope that you had a great weekend, and were able to spend time with the ones you love, doing things that bring you closer together.