Monday just gone I made a spur of the moment decision to take the boys on a play-date. Just me, the lone responsible adult. To Donnybrook. 450km round day-trip.  Insanity. I had two reasons for this. The first was that a girlfriend of mine whose hubby was stationed with mine at Port Hedland had moved there and I hadn’t seen her or her gorgeous boys in nearly three years. The second reason was THIS (below, click on the pic for details) – the biggest free entry fun park in Australia is there!
In hindsight, I should have checked the weather guide as WELL as my diary, as although the day was gorgeous when I set off, it was bucketing with rain about 5 minutes after we arrived and we never got to play on this magnificent playground. Insert sad face. I also smashed the screen on my BRAND NEW smartphone. And had a horrendous drive home in the pouring rain and dark weather. Here is my day.
I left at 830am, 7C outside and loads and loads of sunshine.  The meadows that backed up to the highway were full of sheep with their new-born white lambs with long floppy tails who followed their mums everywhere. The hills were silver with the morning dew and you could see where the sheep had been with the tracks in the grass. Every bend in the highway greeted me with an even better view of pristine sunshine on freshly washed paddocks and the grass at the moment is so very, very green. Luminous even. The morning clouds still held the top of the hills and it was hard to discern them from the wood fire smoke that drifted up from the farmers homes.  If you wound your window down, the scent was a heady mix of wood fire, wet earth, damp wool and on occasion, fragrant wattle.  

The wattles have just started to blossom over here and I am in love with their fragrance. I could just bury my head in their yellow softness and I do if I am walking and come across one in full bloom. I love to pick them too and put them in the house but they make such a mess. There are some magnificent wattle trees on my drive – they remind me of an inappropriate bride in magnificent yellow who just has to make a statement with her swirling gown and full skirt. Sigh. Did I mention I love wattle?

I didnt get any photos and I am kicking myself. I desperately just wanted to get to my girlfriends house to catch up and I knew if I stopped for a photo, then I wouldn’t stop at one. Every vista outdid the previous and I may have wasted another half hour or so making sure I got everything.

With only 20 minutes to go, there was a man on the side of the road with a STOP sign. It had just started to sprinkle with rain and he walked down the row of cars to inform us that there was a bee hive in a tree down the road that was being cut down and the tree loppers were ill prepared for the swarm. It was 30 minutes later that we were allowed to go through, windows firmly wound up. Can you imagine being in a car with two little ones for two hours and then having to stop for another 30??? Aweeeeeeeesome.
We get to Donnybrook at 11am and it is such a pretty town. I am more than a little jealous as I drive through. It has not one, but THREE bakeries!! We don’t even have one. Arrived at my girlfriends and had catch up tea, lunch and all four boys played really nicely together. It was so hard to imagine that her two were the same age that my two are now the last time I saw her! The dynamics blew my mind seeing where my two will be in a few years. Old Man Time, please go slow!
Whilst we were there the weather really started coming in and there was buckleys and none of going to the playground of the Gods. We left Donnybrook about 330pm after hugs and kisses, the promise of a spring overnight visit, and a quick stop at the bakery for a cookie with a face for the boys for the drive home.
I saw some cows in a paddock and resolved to get some photos so I pulled over, parked on the verge and wound down the window with my new phone/camera in hand.  Big Mistake. HUGE. After a few photos, a massive road train flew past and I wasn’t quick enough; it ripped my phone from my hand and flung it, bouncing down the road. Exclaiming profanities I raced from the car and retrieved my more than bruised phone from the centre of the highway and its case a few metres further down. It now bears a very large crack in the corner of its screen but I am grateful that is all the damage it sustained. My heart was in my mouth I tell you when it was whipped by the jet-wash of the truck – all I could think of in that split second was holy crap – what am I going to tell hubby??? Anyway – major adrenalin rush and I felt a little sick getting back into the car. Here are the photos I took before the truck and the smash. Oh, and the rain.

Just after 4pm I drove past a sign that said “To Cranbrook (scenic route)” I did the maths and it was only an extra 10km compared to the way I came (via the major roads) and I really wanted some pictures of what I witnessed this morning. So I turned. Another Big Mistake. HUGE. Not ten minutes after turning off the sky opened up and the rain came in sideways. It was uber-black outside, really ominous-like and I have to admit, I made the wrong decision in going for the alternative road in the fact it was winding and not really wide enough for two cars to pass unless one had their left hand wheels in the dirt, mud.  After turning off onto this road, after about an hour I was still yet to see a road sign confirming where I was headed. I hadn’t passed another car either and I have to admit I was feeling a bit afraid. With the two boys in the car with me, darkness closing in and the rain slowing me down to about 80kph, I was very aware of the complete faith these two little souls in the backseat had in me. Did you ever doubt your parents when they were driving that perhaps they may have been lost in the rain and the dark but were just really good at poker?? I know I didn’t. The fact that my two babies in the back were oblivious to my panic only made it worse and half an hour later, with tears prickling the back of my eyes, I was clicking my heels madly against the pedals and wishing I was just home. It took all my will power to just keep going through the driving rain, to not just stop and wait to see another car and flag it down. What would I tell the other driver?? That I was scared?? Nervous?? Panicked?? It was an odd feeling. Claustrophobic even. Very disconcerting and unsettling as I am usually a very confident and stoic person. I realised the absolute enormity and absoluteness that was being a mother and the recklessness that was taking the scenic route in the dark and the rain. I wished I had stuck to the highway where there were other cars, their headlights, some familiar landmarks and some reassurance of getting home.
Anyway – we DID make it, just on 6pm. It was pitch black and still bucketing with rain which was coming in sideways to the carport, drenching us on our dash to the front door. The house was cold as I had frugally turned the heater off when we left in the morning but we turned it back on, cranked it up and sat and ate our Donnybrook bakery made sausage rolls and sauce for dinner followed by a bath, some hot chocolate and bed. For all three of us!!! I woke the next morning with a massive headache and vomiting – I think it was from the stressful drive home the day before. (no I am NOT pregnant :)
I took this picture today on our way home from Albany.
Driving past this sign never felt so good as it did last Monday night – home is 2 minutes from it!