Unplanned Holiday

Friday before last the beau and I headed up to a national park on the Murray, just over the South Australian border. His Adelaide friends have been camping there every summer for around 20 years, and aside from last year (bad timing with deadlines) I’ve tagged along for three of them.

We arrived and greeted our friends. I picked a spot where I thought no tree branches were likely to fall (the trees up there have earned the nickname ‘widow-makers’ because of their habit of dropping enormous branches) and we pitched our tent. Some of our friends were already swimming in the creek, and aside from the occasional rain shower all was good.

After we all went to bed it started raining. This didn’t worry me. I was too busy having nightmares about trees falling on our tent, waking up, getting annoyed at myself, and going back to sleep. Rain was good. We needed rain. And I don’t mind it being a little wet we go camping. Better than two years ago, when it was 44 degrees c.

Towards morning, I began to get a strange sensation like I was sleeping on a water bed. Then one of our friends roused everyone. The road in was beginning to look like it might turn into a stream, the rain didn’t look like it was going to stop, and he suggested we get out of there.

That’s when I discovered I’d picked a rather large slight hollow to pitch the tent on which had now become a rather large puddle. And I’d foolishly stored my books, sketchbooks and knitting into the front section of the tent, where the puddle was deepest. Here’s what my Knit Lit book looked like after a week drying on the car dashboard:

Within twenty minutes we’d all packed up our tents and belongings into our cars and were heading off. Except that, when the first car reached the road it immediately slid over the slippery clay surface into a ditch. A ditch full of water, which then began to leak into their car. It took us a couple of tries over the next few hours before we managed to push it out. (If I ever go camping again, I’m taking a rubber door mat with me. The one we had turned out to be better at providing traction for the tyres than all the branches and twigs we gathered.)

Since there were several kilometers of clay road to traverse, it was pretty clear we weren’t going anywhere. Repitching wet tents didn’t appeal. Walking out would have taken most of the day.

Fortunately, we had mobile phones. We got hold of the park ranger, who said it hadn’t rained like this in years and from the forecast he reckoned we were stuck until Tuesday – and offered to ship in supplies for us. While some of us could have stayed, in our wet tents, but others had to be at work on Monday. The ranger tried to drive in to get us in his 4WD, but had the same problem with the clay roads and didn’t get far, so he went back to the office and hitched up a boat.

A few hours later we abandoned our cars, taking only essentials and valuables with us, and were ferried back to civilisation. The ranger took us to the office, where we could take showers, have a cuppa, and change into dry clothes. All of which we will be eternally grateful for.

The beau and I could have stayed in the local town until the roads dried out, but we didn’t have a vehicle to get us back to the park, so we tagged along with our Adelaide friends, who had rounded up family members to give them a lift home. That meant staying in Adelaide, carless, for a week.

We learned that we had caught the edge of the storm, and in other areas there had been floods. At least, we hoped the park hadn’t flooded after we left…

It turned out to be a pleasant, relaxing stay. Naturally, I had packed my knitting as part of my essentials and valuables. Unfortunately, most of the projects I’d taken were meant to be do-able in the car without giving me motion sickness – which meant lots of boring stocking stitch. I had thrown in my crochet hook and yarn for making headscarves, and some photocopies of stitch patterns I’d thought might be fun, so they kept me busy for a while.

The red headscarf uses the stitch pattern for the sweet pea shawl in The Happy Hooker by Debbie Stoller. The green headscarf uses the same yarn and an elongated version of the stitch pattern I used for the green headscarf I made for Project Spectrum last year. The blue headscarf was a freeform experiment, where I created the triangular outline of the scarf first, then filled it with medallions and then used chain stitch to connect everything together.

After a few days, however, it was clear I wasn’t going to have enough yarn to keep myself entertained. Then our hostess, who has knit from time to time, brought out some leftovers from garments she’s made and generously offered them to me. Truly, we were well looked after this past week…

The yarn she had gave me an idea, but I would need a 4mm crochet hook and some black yarn. She didn’t have either, and we were carless. But on Wednesday we caught a bus into the city to go shopping and see a film.

First we explored an enormous antique shop. There I indulged in some vintage craft book aquisition:

Then we headed for Rundle Mall, where I found Spotlight and a crochet hook, and these:

And the only yarn I bought all week was a ball of black cotton:

So I could make this when I got back:

Our hosts are rather fond of Totoro. I hope they found this addition to their collection zany and cute…

The last night we were there I knit a 12ply beanie, but since I didn’t have any pattern I had to just wing it, and it turned out a touch small. Mainly, I realise now, because I didn’t remember to add more stitches to allow for the cables. Unfortunately I forgot to take a photo.

On Friday – Australia Day – the beau caught a lift with those of our friends heading pack to the park. Several hours later they returned in their respective cars. Thankfully, nobody had broken into them, nor had they been washed into the creek by floodwaters. Ours was a bit musty, but not overly stinky. We dried out our tents, threw out spoiled food and repacked everything.

Then yesterday we headed home. The road between Adelaide and Melbourne was as exciting as it always has been:

And we experienced the familiar feeling of de ja vu as we passed one tiny town with a giant silo, then another, then another, then another.

I got lots of sock knitting done.

Then, at last, we reached home, where we were greeted by an overflowing mailbox and some half dead plants. We won’t quite feel like we’re home until we have Peri Peri following us around, trying to convince us we’ve forgotten to feed him, but we’ll be picking him up later today.

In the meantime, I’m a little worried about the dead moth I found next to the WIP basket.

6 thoughts on “Unplanned Holiday

  1. What an unexpected holiday, but you were so lucky that no-one was hurt or any property lost and there was bonus knitting and crocheting!!!

  2. Oh my goodness – what an adventure. Still, well planned to have materials and equipment as essentials 🙂

  3. Here’s to unexpected adventures that allow one to knit and crochet! I’m very fond of the Totoro toy.

    Did you get the email I sent you a week or so ago?

  4. Oh my, flooding, a boat rescue, and a plague of vermin (i.e., the lone moth)…it sounds as though you had a holiday of biblical proportions!

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