Travelogues (HLD 117)

17 July 2020

Before I stared writing literary diarrhoea, way back in those pre-unprecedented times when international travel used to be a thing, I wrote blogs based on our travels. Apart from the sheer delight of boring the pants off unsuspecting people who get sucked into reading them, I think it’s a great tool for looking back over old holidays, remembering good times, and more importantly settling arguments in the family about where we went and what we did.

After the holiday is over, I usually – after the washing is done, suitcases packed away for another day, and most memories of ever having travelled anyway have disappeared – make up a photo book, combining the travelogues with photos from the trip. These books have got their own shelf in the bookcase, and every now and then I love dragging one out and having a read.

I must admit I took it as a point of personal pride when my oldest son began writing travelogues on his trips. It was evident (to me) that in this instance, the apple has not fallen far from the tree.

But the tree is quite a bit older than you’d think! I came across my MUM’s travelogues the other day, while I was having a little clean out of stuff.

Spiral bound notebooks were in amongst the stack of mums old diaries. Some held the wonderful notes about fuel consumption on various trips. Fascinating for some, but not so much for me.  But….the travelogues! 

My mum sometimes does not use a lot of words to convey what needs to be said. I hadn’t really taken much note of this trait, until reading her account of our family trip (minus oldest brother who was working in Perth that year, and by golly that’s a story for another time, hey Ron???) across the Nullabor one Christmas.

This was the Christmas when we famously had peanut paste (back on days before it became known as peanut butter) sandwiches for lunch on Christmas Day, and also the trip where the caravan caught fire.

Should be a fascinating account in the travelogue, right??

Mums notes read “Strife 15 miles from Ceduna. Smoke, flames, fire extinguishers from 3 soon-on-the-spot drivers. Much drama”.

MY memories of the event tell you that the amazing part to the story was that we hadn’t seen another car for ages, but within minutes of the fire starting, and our fire extinguisher proved to be not working, three cars showed up – one with stubbies of beer that were initially sacrificed to attempt putting out the fire before another car offered up a fire extinguisher, which was ultimately much more successful.

But apart from the beer situation, I guess Mum’s version still tells the story.

But I had forgotten the first part of the drama that day, but fortunately Mum had made copious notes.

Mum’s blog tells it as “Started well*, Mum and Peter taking 1st and 2nd turns at wheel to relieve previous days’ driver”. The asterix then points to note added afterwards “Stove burst into flames at breakfast time. Allan singed arm, beard and hair”. So possibly that may be why Mum and Pete did the driving that day. Little did we know it wouldn’t be our only flaming excitement in the day!

From the same travelogue I was also reminded that the peanut paste sandwiches were a set up photo opportunity and that Christmas lunch did actually consist of ‘ham and salad and nuts’. I won’t let those facts get in the way of my often quoted story about having peanut paste sandwiches on the Nullarbor on Christmas Day. 

Mums travelogues contain all sorts of newsworthy events, such as when we arrived at a caravan park “Showers and washing done. Clean hair all round”.

It was probably good to get rid of the smell of smoke!!

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