Mum & Dads garden in England –
felt like I’d never been away
I recently spent a week back in England visiting family and close friends as well as travelling to Italy to attend a fairytale wedding.  It was amazing to be back and quite overwhelming to see so many special people.  In a way it almost felt as if I’d never left.  It was a fabulous and complete whirlwind of a trip but the longest time I’ve ever been away from Mr D and the kids – so Sydney, even though you really are on the other side of the world from all things familiar, I was desperate to get back! 
I know it’s an age old saying but since arriving back I’ve noticed that “spring is definitely in the air”.  The temperatures have cranked up a gear or two and although we’re not quite into the throngs of summer it’s enough to put a smile on my face.  The beaches are starting to get busier and now it’s not just my crazy two kids that are stripping off and jumping in the waves!  I dipped my toe in the water the other day as it looked so twinkly and inviting, but it still felt as cold as the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Town (bloody freezing for those of you that have never felt it!!!) – never the less the kids are still straight in there and who am I to complain when I get to sit on the beach and watch all the surfers and newly appointed life guards in action (whilst supervising the kids too of course!).
Me and my girls at Sabrina’s wedding in Italy
As a spring/summer virgin in Sydney, I have been naively relishing in the fact that the deadly funnel web spider season is over!  Woop!  Thankfully, I haven’t seen one for ages and I am actually getting quite brave when it comes to general garden and household spiders – I can now get close enough to squash them!  Funnel webs were my biggest fear though and I am forever paranoid that one would find its way back into the house or appear out of no-where – they really are quite terrifying when you have get up close and personal with them.   Luckily they are primarily winter beasts so YAY for a spider free summer………..or so I thought!
 
the deadly red back – if bitten dial 000 (999)
A few days ago my trusty neighbour Elsie saw me in the garden with the kids and headed come over for a chat (which she does at least twice a day.  The kids have informed me that while I was in England ‘dad hides from Elsie when he sees her coming’.  Poor old dear, I think she’s just lonely).  Anyway she makes her way across the road, looking really worried, to ask me if I’ve had the house sprayed yet for the summer to protect the children (never mind Mr D and I).  “What do you mean Elsie”, I ask.  “For the spiders” she says, “You do know that summer is red back season don’t you?????”  “Jesus H” I think, “are you serious??????”  Just when I thought we were safe!  She then went on to tell me that after her house was sprayed a couple of days before she woke up the next day to find 13 dead red backs!!!!!  OMG – that is all I need.  Those little red buggers are even worse because they’re tiny and you can’t see where they are!  At least with the funnel webs they come at you with their big claws and you can’t miss them!!
 
Beautiful view of Curl Curl from the Diggers car park
That very afternoon I bought a huge big can of spider spray from Bunnings (B&Q) and set about spraying any areas that a red back might hide.  It was absolutely incredible what happened next.  I started with the washing line as I’m hanging clothes on there almost everyday and little webs are always appearing in the corners.  I pointed the canister at each web and sprayed!!  The next thing, I kid you not, all these spiders (not sure what types) start throwing their silk ropes down like lifelines and literally bungee jumping to the ground!!!!!!!  There were at least 15 of them attempting to abseil to safety and that was just from the washing line!!  I dread to think how many more there are hiding in other places you’d least expect.  Making our home spider free is definitely a job for Pete!!! 
about to swoop!
The next creature to rattle me is that ghastly magpie!  I have heard (and read) so many stories about how about they swoop and attack humans during the few weeks of spring.  To be honest the first time I read it, it made me giggle and I didn’t really think it actually happened!  That is until one swooped me!!!!!  I had just got to the Diggers (big RSL club where Josh has his sports class) and the car park is up on a hill with the most spectacular views of Curl Curl Bay.  We were a little early and it was such a beautiful day that I stood on the grass with the kids for a few minutes just to take in the views.  Just then I spotted a pod of dolphins coming across the bay and I was trying to point them out to slightly less enthusiastic pair of kids, when out of nowhere I felt this WHOOOOOOOSH and then what felt like a sharp tug on my hair!  I honestly got THE fright of my life!  I whipped around just to see the magpie fly off.  Luckily it didn’t beak me or come back for a second swoop but it was seriously enough to give me a new found fear of magpies!!!  

evil birds
 
A few days later as I was heading out the kitchen door to get my washing in I saw a Magpie sitting under the line just starring at me……. And all that was between us was the fly-screen door!  As ridiculous as this sounds I actually panicked– they have the most evil stare and this damn bird was seriously starring me out!  I grabbed a pot and wooden spoon from the kitchen and started banging it to scare the bird away, but all it did was shift from one foot to the other and puff out it’s wings!!!!!  “Seriously Mrs D, get a grip” I muttered to myself – still banging my pot, “it’s only a bird!”  Well, eventually it flew away and I had to go out with the washing basket in hand to quickly put over my head just in case it had decided to sit on the roof and swoop down on me when I wasn’t looking!!
Enjoying a spring day.  Miss H and her little friend
Aside from all the funny creatures there is something exciting about spring and I can’t wait for the summer……..





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