If I, unlike the Treasurer, have my calculations correct, this time last year I was finally departing the brilliant bays of Esperance and cruising onto the wonderfully tucked away Fitzgerald River National Park, on the south coast of Western Australia. In the time between now and my last blog post this year I would have been craning my neck for koalas on Kangaroo Island, eating the best kebab in Glenelg, camping on the Murray, watching huge full moons rise over the dunes of Mungo National Park, bumping along a rutted sandy road to Broken Hill, navigating a sodden Alligator Gorge, walking miles of ancient sea bed in the Flinders Ranges, coffin-dodging in Coffin Bay, using foul language in Fowler’s Bay and doing nothing much at all along the Nullarbor; apart from crossing it.

2014 is quieter and, depending on your point of view, more productive. It was bound to be. The escapes are a little less adventurous and thus I come to the once more excusable void of blog-worthy happenings. Escapes are twenty minute walks for a coffee and hour long end of day circuits of suburban foothills and Redhillian summits. They are welcome escapes from working at home and doing my homework. They are, for the most part, absolutely irresistible, given the quite immaculate daytime weather, the saturated streets and, well, the fact that they are breaks from work. My self-discipline is constantly tested!

may01

may02Along the same lines I have found myself quick to spot something that is desperately needed from the supermarket and this too has offered the chance to take a break and do one of my other favourite things: look at, buy, cook and eat food.  The weather has been amenable here as well, the bonus from cooler nights coming from one pot wonders, roast dinners and, when I can’t be bothered so much, bangers and mash and onion gravy. Ultimate comfort and gratuitously sleazy food shots.

may03As snugly as all this sounds there comes a point when the same old same old gets a little bit too same old. And this triggers a very impromptu escape, one a little longer than an autumnal stroll and not leading to something with gravy at the end. Instead, a drive on the open road and fish and chips by the sea. And, most miraculously of all, a beautiful 24 degrees in which to throw off your trousers and praise the lord!

may06Fortunately for just about everyone I brought some shorts to change into for an amble along Tabourie Beach, the obligatory exercise out of the way before gorging on deep fried batter at Burrill Lake. Driving through Ulladulla I decided to pick Mollymook as my laying down and trying to recover from overeating site. But it was just so nice that I didn’t just lie down and groan, all the while clutching at my swollen paunch; the sweeping sand cried out for many footsteps, some of which veered into the sea.

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The sea was, quite miraculously, the warmest I think I have ever known it to be down on the south coast. It may have something to do with currents or Great Barrier Reef dredging or climate change, whatever that is. It was warmer than Esperance, warmer than Fitzgerald River this time last year. And while those spots are something special, they are a trifle inconvenient at 3,200 kilometres distant. Google Maps tells me Esperance would take 34 hours to reach, and that’s without traffic (and, I assume, sleep)! This took a little over two. It is not as great a length, but provides almost as great a feeling. Indeed, it is another great escape (…now cue the music).

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