We headed away for a week long camping trip to the Murray this past week. A get away for Jamie now the busy season has slowed, and a taster for our big trip to come. 2 years ago we headed to the Murray in April with the camper trailer and were introduced to a river side spot by one of Jamie’s owners. We camp right on the river with our very own sandy bank for the kids to swim off. Best of all since it takes a 4 wheel drive and at least half an hour to get there from the nearest town, neighbours are a rarity.

So this year we headed off again but with the jayco, and despite leaving 3 hours behind the plan everyone was pretty happy to be off. We arrived in the nearby town of Merbein at about 6pm and then Jamie and I attempted to ‘remember’ how to get to our campsite. Yes you read it right, we were solely relying on our memories from 2 years ago. Now for Jamie this is fine, he was apparently paying attention. Unfortunately no one told me there was going to be a pop quiz so I spent the trip 2 years ago day dreaming out the window and was next to useless. I kept my responses to ‘ummm, yes, this does look a bit familiar’ and the always popular ‘maybe, go a bit further and we’ll see’. There are quite a few river access roads apparently and neither of us could remember which one we had stayed in. An hour and a half later as darkness was falling, surviving 3 aborted river access attempts and one very stressed Father we arrived. Despite the late hour it was still as perfect as I remember. Meg and the kids were ecstatic to be out of the car, careering around looking for sticks for a fire as we did the bare minimum to get the jayco ready for our first night.

The next day dawned bright and sunny, the Kookaburras are always up first and you can hear them calling up and down the river rousing all the other birds. I’d forgotten quite how noisy it can all be, unless of course you are a child when apparently you can sleep through anything! We spent the next week swimming and kayaking across the state line. Meg even joined in – she hates to be left out and us disappearing over to the other side of the river means we are of course abandoning her. Luckily Abi  leapt back into her kayak and rowed into the middle of the river to rescue her.

Zachary has been a bit fishing obsessed recently. At home he creates nets out of material and uses them to try and catch goldfish out of the pond – and occasionally succeeds much to Jamie’s frustration. So this trip all his dream all came true, from the moment he woke up – lying on top of Jamie and peeling his eyes open while shouting ‘take me fishing Daddy’ to the moment he went to sleep, usually accompanied by sobbing because he wasn’t allowed to catch one more. He’s had the time of his life catching yabbies in the river off shoots, shrimp out of the river for bait and finally a huge number of carp. I think between them the kids managed almost 20 over the week. Good for the river, happy little kids and happy hawks who got to eat the abandoned carp on the banks.

Fishing joy on the Murray!

We were surrounded by hawks on the river, twisting and diving all day looking for food. Sometimes they’d eat what we left after fishing and a few times we watched them diving into the river to pick up fish in their talons.

We hit Mildura on the Saturday to grab a couple of things and enjoy a munch at the local working man’s club. Best bit was apparently the kids play area attached onto the dinning room, best bit for us too, lovely peace and quiet to eat lunch and read the paper.

Amongst all the beauty, I find them watching a youtube clip where people set fire to their farts!

The weather was lovely, bit cool over the weekend so only the kids braved the water for any length of time but lovely just to sit and do nothing. We fished, read, played games and roasted marshmallows in the evening. Meg spent most of it lying in the dirt recovering from swimming or her rigorous schedule of barking at nothing. Hard life for a dog it is!

We ran out of water on Monday, or rather we thought we had. Seems to be an issue with air blockages in the water tank. So we packed up the bare minimum and Jamie and Dad drove back into Merbein to fill up the tanks for the last few days. And it was probably a good thing as the last day was a scorcher, 38 degrees and crazy winds meant a total fire ban. We swam for a bit, before disappearing inside to escape the wind. We played games and napped, waiting for a break in the heat. The fridges struggled to cope – leaving Dad with the catastrophe of no ice with his evening glass of white wine!

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Finally at about 6 it cooled off to a barmy 34 and the wind dropped. The boys took off to fish with the last of the shrimp while we knocked out a quick dinner of bacon and cheese toasties. The kids went to bed at 10pm and were straight out, despite it still being 30 degrees.

Thursday dawned and we were up and packing up the van ready for the trip home. Everyone is very dusty, dry and in need of a shower and hair wash, or maybe that’s just the way I feel. The kids are as brown as berries and in need of rehydration and moisturising. I’m looking forward to an indoor toilet because despite the beauty of the Murray, there’s just something special about weeing indoors that can’t be beat!

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One final bit of news which made our return journey home that little bit sadder was hearing from the new owners of Blackmagic Guy. We had emailed her after hearing about Bella and were quite surprised to discover he was still alive, only a few months off his 14th birthday which is impressive for a greyhound. He was much greyer and apparently suffering from arthritis in the spine but still his happy loving self. Once we logged back into the world today we had the very sad email saying that he had suddenly taken a turn for the worst and they had had no choice but to put him down. They have been great owners, completely adoring him and last time we visited their little girl was quite put out and cross thinking we had come to take him back. After all he was now her dog not ours!

He took us all over the UK, and most of our trophies and award photos feature Guy. After he broke his leg on the track and moved in with us he was a fabulous dog, happy to go 0 – 60 at the park, but happier to sleep on the sofa or in a giant puppy pile with the Jack Russells.

Considering his attempts to galumph around with them I am pretty sure he came to believe he was a Jack Russell. You were a star on and off the track to us Guy, thank you for the memories xxxx