Thursday 5th April – The Preparation
Once upon a time, in a place far, far from here… there was a very lazy boy who just wanted to relax and unwind, and his lovely girlfriend who worked so very hard so that he could, and they wanted to go to an island—those famously being places to relax.
But first, the boy worked. His work had a barbecue for lunch, and there were Easter Eggs.
Our hero, Ned, copied “Top Gear”, “How I Met Your Mother”, and “The Big Bang Theory” to a removable hard drive, in case he—or our heroine, Bronwen—got bored at Stradbroke Island.
He then drove to Bronwen’s parents’ place, and from there on down to the Mexican place at Rosalie, where Bronwen and he had dinner (nachos for himself, tacos for her), then to Kieran’s, then—well after midnight—to Maz’s to copy the latest episodes of “How I Met Your Mother” and “The Big Bang Theory”, then back home, where they both packed for Stradbroke… until it was 5 AM and they went to bed.
Friday 6th April – Stradbroke Island & The Foot Penetrating Gum Nuts
Bronwen woke up because she is silly and forgot to turn off her working-life alarm even though today isn’t a working-life day and is in fact a relaxing-life day. Then she decided to turn it off, but it was too late—she had already woken up too much, and could not go back to sleep.
Ned woke up, having intelligently not set his alarm for his working-life on a relaxing-life day. Bronwen got up and started to get ready, while Ned stayed in bed. Then when Bronwen came back to make Ned get up, he said it was too late and that they’d missed the ferry, so he went back to sleep. Sometime later, Bronwen again woke Ned up, and made him get up. Ned packed his things quickly and efficiently, while Bronwen ran around in circles.
Bronwen drove to Cleveland in the Corolla, without hitting anything, getting lost, or having any accidents. There was no parking despite Ned making Bronwen carefully check in all the places where she should, so Bronwen had to drive far, far away and found what seemed to be the only available parking spot there. Having now very little time until the ferry left, they had to rush. Bronwen had packed poorly, so found it difficult to carry the things she needed to carry, while Ned had cleverly packed all his things into usefully carry-able bags, so he got to the ferry quite a long time before Bronwen, and wisely used his spare time to buy a ten trip ticket. There were heaps of people waiting for the ferry, but fortunately they all fit aboard.
The trip across to Stradbroke Island on the 10:55 AM Gold Cat was uneventful—no icebergs were sighted; nor were any hit. There were also no whales, but lots of iPhones. After half an hour or so, all of the iPhones, and our seafaring heroes, arrived safely at the island, and—having been worried that there would be no room on the bus after a previous bad experience—our foreseeing heroes managed to get off the boat much earlier than all the other silly people, so got onto the bus when there was still lots of room. They were yelled at by the presumably insane bus driver, who made them put their luggage into the luggage holders, but other than that, the bus trip was also uneventful, and there were also no icebergs.
The shed was still there, fortunately, and Bronwen hadn’t even lost the key, so our homely heroes could get in, and their saga could continue. There were several hundred thousand leaves cleverly hiding sharp, foot-penetrating gum nuts—no doubt designed to stop the white occupation of aboriginal lands—and over a billion ants, but other than that, the shed was found to be quite liveable. Bronwen set to work connecting the power, water, cleaning things, and making it nice, while Ned set to work relaxing—that being the point of the holiday, after all.
After Bronwen had made the shed happy, our hungry heroes walked down to Bob’s shop, where Ned bought bread, ice cream, cream, milk, and butter, then walked back up to the shed and had lunch—pesto, cheese and tomato sandwiches, along with some ants.
After lunch and some more relaxation, our valiant duo walked down to the beach, where Ned remarked on how few people there were. Fortunately, Ned didn’t get lost, because Bronwen knew where she was going. Also, it’s a small island. After walking along the beach, our adventurous couple returned to find that the ants had left most of the shed where it had been, and they relaxed some more amongst the mosquitos, ate dinner (amongst the mosquitos), and went to bed (amongst the mosquitos)—but with some nice music playing, Ned having managed to connect his laptop to the in-shed sound system.
Saturday 7th April – Stradbroke Island & The Ear-Biting Ants
Our relaxed heroes got up in the morning, had breakfast, and went for a walk along the beach. After investigating many beaches—one was too small, another was too hard, and the third was too soft—they finally came across a beach that was just right, and went for a swim there. Bronwen met one of her co-workers, who had many little-ings trying to drown themselves in the ocean, and Ned fought the current valiantly—all the more impressive as he only had one hand to use, the other holding a waterproof camera, like the true hero he is.
After their swim, they returned to the shed where they had their first proper shower in a year (sadly, Bronwen’s shower is designed to ensure that no water comes out, lest the dams empty and everyone die), and Ned relaxed some more while Bronwen prepared him some lunch. Lunch was a medley of avocado, bean and chilli, mixed with some bread and a liberal smattering of ants.
After lunch, yet another walk was enforced upon the relaxation-deprived Ned, as Bronwen made him walk all the way to main beach—including getting lost by spending ages and ages and ages going up a huge sand dune, which was very difficult but went absolutely nowhere, kind of like the Labor Party. To make matters even worse, when they arrived at Main Beach, it was firmly closed. The sign said that swimming would result in death and had people with ghastly faces on falling from cliffs.
Instead of going for a swim, our intrepid heroes went for a walk around Whale (or perhaps Wail) rock, where Bronwen attempted to kill herself at every possible chance by standing unrealistically close to the edge of very crumbly and dangerous cliffs, far, far past the “do not go past” signs. Fortunately for Ned, who would have had no more lunches had she died, she didn’t manage to actually fall off, and eventually they ended up at the other end of the Gorge Walk, where they found a very large moon rising out of the ocean—but not before they saw several turtles who were surely going to die, swimming as close as they were to the dangerous, craggy rocks in the raging, insane surf. Interestingly, the Gorge Walk is now mostly made out of what appears to be old car tyres. Even more interestingly, there were fourteen carloads of Asians skipping (literally, with a skipping rope and everything) where Cam and Tina’s wedding was.
Speaking of Cam and Tina, our now exhausted adventurers bumped into them on their way to dinner, as they were also on their way to dinner, but due to a sad lack of planning on Bronwen’s behalf, Ned hadn’t brought his wallet and they had to walk all the way back to the ants and mosquitos to get it.
After retrieving his wallet from the ants, Ned bought chips from the place behind Bob’s shop, and ate them with Bronwen down on the rocks between Cylinder and Deadman’s beaches, while discussing what they should do, should they see an oncoming tsunami. After dinner, they both developed an annoying bout of hay fever and went to bed, along with many ants, who kept Ned awake by biting his ears and walking along his mouth, no doubt jeering loudly in their drunken little ant voices.
Sunday 8th April – Stradbroke & The Mosquito Coil Incident
Our ant-bitten heroes awoke to find that the ants had let them live. They walked down past the filled church to the beach, which wasn’t as busy as Ned has expected it to be, being mostly full of people surfing. There were almost no sunbathers at all. They walked along the beaches, but couldn’t get all the way to the end, because there was an ocean in the way. Having been defeated by the sea, they returned to the ants and mosquitos to have breakfast. Breakfast was what Bronwen amusingly calls “muesli”, but is not actually—instead being a home-made and sneakily disguised muesli lookalike.
After breakfast lots of serious relaxation was had. Bronwen even lit a mosquito coil at one point to make the mosquitos angrier. Surprisingly, it actually worked and they all left—perhaps they’re a highly unionised organisation. Just before going for another walk, it began to rain. Not wanting to get wet on their way to the ocean to get wet, Bronwen made some lunch—hot dogs and corn—and postponed the walk until the evening.
The postponed walk having now come about, our footloose heroes headed down to the beach, walking to Cylinder, and then Home, and finally Flinders beaches. The earlier foul weather had scared a lot of the sunbathers away, but there were still a fair few people wandering around and even a few brave souls in the water. On the walk back, Bronwen went swimming at Frenchman’s beach, while Ned—who was too clever to go in the water when it was freezing cold—sat on a rock and watched people play ball.
After her swim, Bronwen—and our rock-sitting Ned—walked back to the shed, where they got their normal clothes on and walked back down to the beach, sitting on the rocks between Frenchman’s and Deadman’s beaches eating chips, drinking wine (or, in Ned’s case, L.A. Maxi Ice (it’s a sugar free flavour hit, apparently)) and waiting for the moon to rise—which it did, precisely on time, at 6:35.
After moonrise, the moonlit couple walked back to the shed where Bronwen cooked Ned a nice pasta dinner while Ned did the important things like queue up some music for the night, write his journal, and read helpful excerpts from Wikipedia’s list of the most sold artists of all time. Helpfully for the mosquitos, Bronwen trod on the mosquito coil, smashing it into small pieces and damaging the spikey holder part. Mosquitos everywhere could be heard cheering. Fortunately for Bronwen, the large spike on it didn’t go into her foot, requiring an urgent trip to hospital. Mosquitos everywhere could be heard booing. Having survived the now infamous mosquito coil incident, Bronwen prepared Ned some ice cream and a nice cup of tea, while Ned continued to relax. Then, after a little book reading and music listening, they both went to bed.
Monday 9th April – Stradbroke & The Mad Rush
Ned’s work alarm went off, but before he could be too mortified, so did Bronwen’s—the silly girl hadn’t turned it off! Fortunately it’s not a work day, so our lazy heroes didn’t need to get up. Also fortunately, Ned’s clever plan of hoping the ants wouldn’t get into his bed and wake him up worked.
Around half an hour later, Bronwen—who isn’t as good at relaxing as Ned—began to read her book in bed, and another half an hour or so later, Ned—who could have relaxed for much longer if he was allowed—got up and walked down to the beach with the impatient Bronwen, where—after walking to the end of the beaches and hurting their feet on the rocks—they swam against the current for a few hours. The water all went one way, some British backpackers didn’t drown, and some dogs ran around and around in circles chasing tennis balls. Meanwhile, our waterlogged heroes swam constantly to the right, while floating to the left, eventually having to get out and walk back to the other end of the beach to start again.
After swimming, our wet heroes chafed back to the shed, where Bronwen made Ned ice cream, herself so-called “muesli”, and a hot cross bun and cup of tea.
After breakfast our well-fed duo made their way back down to the beach, walking up to Flinder’s beach, then back to Frenchman’s, where they went for a swim among many little fish.
Time having now passed, our time-starved heroes rushed back to the shed, where Ned began to try to finish off all the things they couldn’t take back—the ice cream, yoghurt, milk, and so on, while Bronwen did the dishes, cleaned the shed, packed things, heated garlic bread, opened mexi-beans, made tea, and complained.
Almost Too Late in the Afternoon
Sadly, Bronwen was too slow with her cleaning, packing, and preparing to exit the shed, so what could have been a relaxing time for Ned became a stressful time with him having to constantly remind Bronwen to hurry up, not forget things, and do things the right way. Needless to say, Ned managed his duties—finishing off the ice cream and keeping out of the way—with plenty of time to spare. Only minutes before the bus was due to leave, everything was put away, Bronwen finally packed all her things, the shed was locked up, and Bronwen carried everything—apart from the important stuff, like the camera and tripod which Ned carried—down to the bus stop. One bus came and went without stopping—presumably it was already full. Fortunately, a second, not full, bus arrived a little later, and everyone managed to get on and, sometime later and nary an iceberg anywhere to be seen, get off again at One Mile.
The pontoon was nearly filled with foreign women and their Australian boyfriends, and the smaller of the two ferries arrived. There was a mad rush to queue up when everyone realised that the couple of hundred people waiting wouldn’t all fit onto the fifty-seat ferry… but fortunately for all involved, another three hundred seat ferry arrived shortly after. Unsurprisingly, Bronwen had managed to somehow get nearly to the front of the line and got on the little ferry—and luckily, Ned also managed to squeeze—albeit more politely—on behind her before the fifty-person cut-off. There was only one staff member on the ferry—so the same person had to drive the boat, dock the boat, take our tickets, tell the unfortunate group who had got on the wrong ferry that their tickets were useless and they were at the wrong place, undock the boat, and drive the boat again.
When the ferry arrived back in Cleveland it became evident why they had taken two ferries—the tide was far too low for the larger ferry to dock, so the smaller one would have been delivering people from the usual place at Cleveland over to Straddie and then bring us back, and the larger one would be bringing the rest of the people back from Straddie, and probably giving them the guided tour through the expensive-looking, yacht-littered riverfront real estate of Cleveland, before letting them off near the train station.
Bronwen carried all the heavier things to the car while Ned explained why it was quicker overall if they both walked to the car, rather than having Bronwen go get it while Ned waited with the heavy things. Happily, the car was still there, and started. Ned only had to yell at Bronwen once on the way home, when she tried to merge into another car, and they both arrived, after some argument about the best way to get home (Bronwen, for some reason, thinking that there was a better way than the right way), safely home.
Ned went and showered away the salt and sand while Bronwen unpacked the car, cleaned the house (the rotten fruit and vegetables she’d been keeping so they didn’t go to waste, were, after all, hers), and made dinner. After dinner, Bronwen drove over to her parents’ place, while Ned developed sudden, severe incapacitating hay fever and went to bed, unable to do the work he had planned to do.
Tuesday 10th April – Brisbane, Work & The Sniffles
Ned awoke and snoozed his alarm every three minutes until all six of them had gone off (he had, cleverly, set alarms every 3 minutes from eight o’clock until a quarter past), then got up, showered, and decided he would go to work. He had been considering calling in sick as he still felt a bit like he had hay fever, and didn’t want to go to work and have it attack again with a vengeance, meaning he’d have to go home again and lie down.
Ned worked, eating Subway for lunch—and while he had the sniffles a few times and got worried… the hay fever stayed mostly at bay.
Our hero drove home, then—after a bit of relaxing—back into the city to get Bronwen from climbing, and on to Maz’s place, picking up pizza from Dominos on the way.