Posts Tagged ‘Dpchallenge’

DPChallenge: Map it Out

In checking out the Reader section on WordPress, I came across the Writing Challenge section and, always looking to pick up my skills in Blogging, I decided to give it a go. Here then, is my first effort at using an embedded map and under taking a writing challenge – I hope you enjoy it.

Above is a map of Koroit, which, for my overseas readers, is at the end of the Great Ocean Rd in South West Victoria, at the “bottom” of mainland Australia. It lies just west of the larger main ‘city’ of Warrnambool, which you can see to the right of the map (population 30 000). Koroit, by comparison, has about 2000 residents and is remarkable for having, in its heyday, the largest Irish population per capita in Australia.

Koroit Cemetery – dating back to the mid 1800s

We have been staying here, with relatives, for the past week. It is a beautiful location and, in contrast to other parts of Victoria, is relatively protected from the hot summer weather by sea breezes that hark back to Antarctica. Thus even the hot days (40 degrees celsius the day after we arrived) obtain relief in the late afternoon from a southerly wind change. This while a number of bush and grass fires burn out of control in the States of NSW, Victoria and, across Bass Strait, in Tasmania.

This trip has been memorable for a number of reasons. My son and daughter are now of an age to appreciate both family and location. Thus we had my son, now aged 8, express an interest in visiting the local cemetery. Having not been to such a place before, I asked him the reason as to his desire to go. His answer, to see “the chess pieces” that were the crosses and angels atop the various markers and tombstones, visible from the highway. They had piqued his interest as we went back and forth at 100km an hour to town.

The Koroit to Port Fairy Rail Trail - looking towards Port Fairy

The Koroit to Port Fairy Rail Trail – looking towards Port Fairy

Having got there yesterday, my daughter’s reaction was more of concern for the rabbits that had burrows all over the place, in case they “got out onto the highway and got run over”. Perhaps not surprising from a five year old. For me, as always, it was looking at the contrasts in the big pieces of stone. The families who had multiple children pass away before the age of five; the son who “failed” to reach his father’s 104 years by only managing to make 102.

For me, the big boon of the holiday has been the discovery of the rail trail – a bike track converted from a former, disused rail line. From Koroit, this heads 20km both South East and  South West – the former to the township of Port Fairy,  the latter, to Warrnambool.

The track gently undulates and, so long as you keep above 10km an hour, you can outpace the flies that proliferate the area, courtesy of the rich dairy farmland surrounding the track. It is wonderfully peaceful, with your only company being the odd fellow cyclist, dairy cow, sheep and the finches that dart about. The wind blows continuously from the south, with the occasional waft of liquorice like fragrances from the surrounding flora. A quick takeaway coffee at the other end, to recharge, prepares you for the return journey that passes the slow moving rivers of the Moyne and Merri.


Lining up for the start at the Speedway

Then there have been other summer offerings – the trip to the Speedway last weekend, again a (very loud) first for my family. The relative ignorance we faced at the protocols involved with the sport slowly dissipated, in amongst the noise of the angry hornet like behaviour of the wingless cars and their  F500 “winged” counterparts.

As well as this, the trip last night to the seaside carnival, where my son “drove” his first dodgem car and both children “won” mini hand pull helicopters on the clowns… $10 for three games and the cheap plastic flying rotors continue to whiz about the grandparent’s garden 24 hours later; the life-expectancy of the cheap toys surpassing all predictions.

Then there are those simple things that take you back to your own childhood. Like my daughter’s discovery of the simple things, like the euphoria as you learn to climb a tree for the first time. With advice such as “look for the branches that are as thick as your arms or bigger” from her mother, she dispensed with fear and revelled in the thrill of going “higher than you Dad!”

from a tree in Poppa's back yard, the world beckons

from a tree in Poppa’s back yard, the world beckons

The journey is coming to an end, but, for a five and eight year old and their (somewhat) older parents, many memories will endure.