From the Coalface {SQT} The Shire of Bland and Summer

seven-quick-takes-friday-2-300x213Linking up with Kelly at This Ain’t the Lyceum



There is a saying that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.  But, I beg to differ.  It is SO about the destination when you live in a massive country like Australia.

We have been travelling to the National Association of Catholic Families Conference in Albury.

We had 17 hours of driving over 2 days to cover, with much of it looking like this:

Are we there yet?
Are we there yet?


And then we had to drive through hours of flat brown country that had been inspirationally named:




One of the best things we have learned from this road trip so far?

Sheepskin car seat covers are SO worth it when you are sitting down for 8 hours at a time.


Also something we applied from our last road trip which was to avoid at all costs the  flushless / composting toilets (aka drop dunnies) liberally sprinkled along most Australian highways.  These are such an assault on my senses that I just can’t even get the words to describe the stench and horror of these pits from the mouth of hell.

We have now discovered how to discern an acceptable WC and if it looks like it is built even marginally higher than the surrounding area we avoid like the plague.

Can you imagine my delight when we got to Moree (way outback town) and found a high tech loo in the main street?

A touch button opens the automatic door while a lovely fellow’s voice comes over the speaker to inform you that you have 10 minutes before the doors will automatically open directly onto the main street.  Before you have time to process that piece of information, the elevator music starts to the tune of, “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”    This calms any further processing of the 10 minute rule.

You then get dispensed an exact amount of paper followed by “Have a nice day” when you unlock the door to leave.

Now it may sound like a small thing but after the absolute trauma of the drop dunny, it is great.  Combine this with  having kids where toilet stops seem to go hand in hand with contracting every current WHO listed infectious disease, then this is BIG.

As an extra precaution from our last road trip where the kids both did contract a virulent bout of gastro, I take along a mega pack of flushable antiseptic wipes.  Forget the hand sanitiser.  These aren’t even suggested for use on hands, but that doesn’t stop me.  If they kill 99.9% of germs on hard surfaces then they ought to work on skin.


I know we are not the only ones who re-purpose these things like this.

We once had a very brief foray into foster caring when I was wanting to tackle the terrible head lice on the little girl in our care.  When I spoke to a more experienced foster mum about it I was horrified (in my naive way at the time) to discover she used lice laundry treatment on all the foster children’s heads that came through her door.  She said it was the only thing that had ever worked and with a big family she just couldn’t afford to have an outbreak.  If only I had been more receptive at the time.

No one seemed to have been any worse off for it.

Now I go with the “whatever works” strategy.


We began the NACF Conference today with a pilgrimage walk of 10 kms in 36C heat.  3 hours.  Lots of water.  Time off purgatory, and lots of prayers for the success of the weekend.

God really was with us on this walk.  We had a lovely “back up vehicle” which always seemed to turn up just when a water break was needed.  We had a person we had never met offer to drop us back to our car so we wouldn’t be late for our next appointment.  It really is hard work but God never leaves us without help.


The walk was followed by further time off purgatory for Holy Mass in a conference room packed with 400 people and inadequate air conditioning.   If ever there was a test of endurance, this would have been it.  The room was at least 40C.

But any test should have a winner.  So my criteria for who will win was as follows:

A.Who can look the least like they are melting in their own puddle?

B.Who can keep breathing stifling air with all those other bodies without even so much as waving a piece of paper past their face as a makeshift fan?

C.Who can pray in a seemingly contemplative fashion while their sweat makes splodgy marks on their shirts?

D.Who can take modest clothing to the extreme by layering a 3/4 sleeve top over their existing modest short sleeved top and hold a hot, sweaty baby at the same time?

Needless to say I failed on every count.

The Lord, however, provides.

And this is probably the best part of the whole thing… that this suffering was not in vain.

Jesus was with us, in the heat and sweat of the coalface.

Truly present in His Body in the Blessed Sacrament.  After communion it was amazing how much less hot and stifling things seemed.  After communion I actually wasn’t as distracted by the heat.  That, my friends, is my first miracle for the weekend, and this is only the first day.

Bring on the graces.

Have a great week everyone!


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