Time to tell you about Friday.
The morning activity was 'Wild Wild World of Waterbugs' at Yueleralbah trail (aka Flaggy Creek in Kahaiba). Lara looked at me rather dubiously and asked 'Will they be VERY wild?' and so of course I said Yes they'll probably be thrashing around and really dangerous. 'Really?' (She's starting to get the hang of irony but isn't quite there yet.)
One marvellous, serendipitous event was that we turned up and were greeted by an eager cry of “LARA!”, after which she was promptly seized on by Ruby and they didn't part until the end of the event. Ruby was there with two cousins, and all in all it made a very nice little party.
As on all these excursions, the guides (rangers) from the National Parks come along and talk about whatever it is, give them little activities and generally act amusing. For this one we had Dan again – he'd done the Fossil tour we'd done the last holidays round. Reassuringly knowledgeable and utterly negligent of paperwork, and looks like Fozzy Bear, so a great hit with the children. Had the great fortune to see our first real-life Tawny Frogmouth looking sleepy behind a tree-stump.
Ruby, Lara, and the Tawny Frogmouth
Rapt kids, and that messy thing to the right is a ring-tailed possum nest
Flaggy Creek, and a TINY ground-orchid
The two of them taking turns getting stuff out of the creek - watched by Fozzy Bear
When we got down to the creek they got the nets and trays out, and the kids went around in groups of two or three scooping and jiggling about in the water. Boy, it was cold. I was looking after Ruby and Lara's tub, of course, and they were OK to scoop the stuff out of the creek but putting hands in the water to turn the nets out was not on, so I did that stuff. There wasn't all that much to catch, what with it being winter n'all but they had a jolly good time, and the guides pointed out lots of TINY creatures. We got plenty of minuscule freshwater snail and quite a few caddis fly nymphs, and a beetle lava who wriggled around alarmingly in his ice-cube tray compartment. Even more alarming was the horsehair worm, which apparently grow to 2 meters long and a horribly thin and long (the one they found was only about 20cm or so.) The guide said they're parasitic and BOY did they look parasitic. I asked what they were parasites on and didn't get an answer because they didn't know, but I found out later it's on snails, crustaceans and insects. How you get a two meter long worm into a cockroach I really dread to think but at least it's not a human parasite.
Now, after the two hours of fantastic dipnetting, the kids all sat down and had their snacks and that was it. Enjoyment and satisfaction all round.
I got the Non back, fed her a quick bit of lunch and for the afternoon she went off to Neve's for a playdate. Wonderful! They had a great time, it seemed, when I got back two hours later. Neve's bedroom had metamorphosed into a war-zone, and the girls were bouncing uncontrollably on a large enclosed trampoline between bouts of eating lots of biscuits. Perfect afternoon.
It was going to be Lucy's party after that, but poor Lucy got the Merewether Cold and wasn't up for it, so it's been postponed until August. Anyway, it was a full enough day for her as it was.