Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Down the rabbithole: meet Mel from Coal Valley View

My goodness, you're a wonderful band of kind supporters, you Planetarians! Your response to my last post about our financial stress has completely floored me. Thankyou for all your thoughtful and insightful comments. I look forward to responding to them. I can see a number of related posts I'd like to write. Anyway, it being Wednesday, let's pop down another of Blogland's rabbitholes to find another of my favourite Planetarians!

So far, you've met C├ęcile from France who blogs at Libertylle and Viv from the UK who blogs at Hen's Teeth. Tonight I've chosen a fellow Hobartian who's become one of my dearest friends - the delightful Mel from Coal Valley View.
Here we are, five minutes after meeting each other, back in March 2012
I first found Mel's blog about this time last year. Or rather, Mr PB did, back in the days when he used to read my blog! He found "this really interesting woman who's a mum of 4 littlies, a lawyer, lives in Sydney and is about to move to Hobart - you should contact her!". I did as I was told. What I found at Coal Valley View enchanted me.

At that stage, Mel and her husband ('the Pianoman') had made the huge decision to pack up their life in Sydney with their 4 young children aged 7 ('Miss Fancy'), 5 ('Blue Eyes') and 3 ('Little Buddy' and 'D' - twin boys) and move back to their little farm in Tasmania. Her post here explains why.

Now, that in itself would be a major undertaking for any family. But Mel and the Pianoman don't do things by halves. No sirree. They also decided to delay their return to Hobart by taking the family on a trek through outback Australia first!
They bought a caravan (a 1975 vintage Millard Capri they named 'Matilda'), packed up their belongings, loaded the family and their beloved whippet, Remy, into Matilda and left Sydney on their Big Adventure.

And what an adventure it turned out to be! I was rivetted by Mel's posts. They were incredibly diverse, warm, funny and thoughtful. Here are some of the classic photos from their travels.
Here are the kidlets with Cecil the camel on the way to Broken Hill.
Here they are dashing towards Uluru.
There was plenty of relaxing under the tent.
As well as paddling at Kununurra.
Then it all became a bit hairy when Matilda ran into trouble, causing a slight delay in the itinerary.
Driving through a floodway
But then it all became a lot more *interesting* when they ended up getting stuck between a cyclone and a bushfire! Nothing done by halves, as I said ☺. Thankfully, they survived those dramas intact. This map shows where they went. I still can't believe it!
They then drove onto the ferry, bound for their new life in Tasmania.
This is the view from Mel's house up on the hill overlooking the Coal Valley, just east of Hobart. Isn't it magical? It's a wonderful area to explore with a variety of fabulous vineyards - read here for more info. 

We've had the pleasure of whiling away a few blissful hours at Mel's place, admiring this very view over a crisp sauvignon blanc while our combined 7 children under 8 cavorted around! They struck up instant friendships which was so heartwarming to see. I savoured every minute of our visit. Mel and the Pianoman were the consummate hosts. She and I have so much in common that we scarcely drew breath. There's never enough time for us to catch up properly without being interrupted by the kidlets and the pixies!

And now Mel and the Pianoman have the added delight of the impending birth of their 5th kidlet! 'In for a penny, in for a pound', as my Dad used to say ☺. Our family get-togethers are about to become a whole lot merrier. I can't wait.

So, what do you think about Mel's Big Adventure? Do you think she and the Pianoman were daring to take it on? I do! And what do you think of her view? I can't wait to hear your thoughts.

Do drop by her fabulous blog and say hello from me. I know how much she's enjoying this bloggy caper and welcomes new followers. You all know what it's like when you're a blogging newbie - let's share some bloggy love!
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