The short stay in a Cabin.

IMG_4523gerard

Me on the veranda.

Last week my brother, his wife and I decided to take a few days off and return to a camping spot we all visited many years ago. We all had young families and the Oosterman clan all lived in the inner Sydney suburb of Balmain. They were the years often considered to be the best years. I often thought that the best years are right now and at the present. Of late, that view is on rocky grounds. Together but now not together. Never. I miss Helvi.

The area that we so often camped at, first in tents, and as we grew older and perhaps more affluent, we camped in caravans with annexes but still stuck to open fires and rough wine in those 4 litres plastic bladders that Australia became world famous for. Such a ground-breaking invention! The area is still tree bound but with many semi-permanent caravans with fibro sheeted annexes a bit uglier with the beauty of trees still managing a modest win. But for how long?  It seems some retired and perhaps increasingly impoverishing elderlies try and live permanently in those vans, no doubt making their meagre pension stretch a bit further. The area is about 200km south of Sydney on the coast. Pounding waves and miles of semi-deserted beaches are the main lure for many campers.

After arrival and making ourselves comfortable I noticed that my sleeping quarter was in a tiny room just able to hold a bunk bed with a space of about 40cm between bed and window. The room had a low ceiling but even so this bunk bed’s design had a layer of three beds stacked above each other with perhaps about 50 cm between them. The design was obviously made with punishing the inhabitants of the bed because to limit the entree into the bed was a FIXED steel ladder in between the foot and the head of the bed limiting access and egress.  I immediately decided to try and visualise getting into the bed and out of the bed, without the need to call an ambulance or an Emergency Rescue Van with bolt cutters.

My brother and his wife had the comfort of a double bed and soft matrass, so that was satisfactory. The cabin also had a good stove, fridge and TV and…air-con to boot. The best part was the large veranda outside which gave us a view of the ocean, the parakeets, parrots and lorikeets with the hopping Kangaroos as a bonus. But as the evening announced itself and I had, as a pre-caution for the looming bunk bed’s trial, had a few glasses of Shiraz. One has to visualise that the entrance to the middle bunk and top bunk was totally out of the question. One would have to be a tiny Houdini and I am, even shrunk in my elderly personage, still 6 ft tall and stiffly lanky. So, the bunk bed at the near floor level was the only choice. The steel ladder in the middle was fixed which left me an opening of about 40 x50cm to get in.

I survived but had an uncomfortable couple of nights. My brother and his wife on the other hand looked remarkably refreshed each morning. All in all it was a good break and I enjoyed it but was very happy to jump in my own bed the third night.

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35 Responses to “The short stay in a Cabin.”

  1. petspeopleandlife Says:

    Well I think the answer to your bed problem is to get a camper ( as we call them here or a mobile home on wheels) if you intend to make camping a habitat. I am surprised you lasted those nights in crowded space. Maybe you would have been better off sleeping on the floor.

    It is good to know that you are getting out and mixing and mingling.

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We always had stretcher beds and I still have two languishing in the garage. In emergencies and with adults and grandchildren they played a useful role. They fold up, have a matrass, and are on wheels. Sooner or later I have to call the Salvos.

      I could not have slept on the floor but did have a go at trying to sleep on the settee. But it was a two seater. I compromised by levering my legs over the edge of the two seater and planted them on top of the kitchen bench with the help of a soft cushion for support. The angle of my torso was impossible to hold for long so went back to the bunkbed. Not much of a choice. At one stage I thought of sleeping in my brother’s car.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. leggypeggy Says:

    Glad you survived.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Therese Trouserzoff Says:

    Hi Gez.

    I have by trial and several errors found that either I do not have sufficient supplies of Bundaberg analgesics with me or my liver refuses further topping up – to tolerate camping.

    FM says she loves to camp out under the stars – all five of them.

    Your sleeping arrangements seemingly had the requisite effect of confirming how wonderful the good old domestic doss box really is.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Trouserzoff.
      It was not comfortable, but I survived. Life is often like that. My brother left a stiff note to the managers of the campsite that the bunk beds were not for adults. But him and his wife were happy with the comfort of their bed.
      Years ago at France’s expensive Chamonix, and sans money, I crept into a hotel and slept sitting in a bath after locking the door.

      Liked by 3 people

      • auntyuta Says:

        LOL!!! Did the bath tub have a good length for you? 🙂

        But seriously, the manager could have offered you a second cabin to sleep in. That reminds me, once when Peter’s sister came visiting us in Australia we booked a room in the Formula One in Newcastle. It is what you would call a budget overnight stay. At the time it was furbished with a double bed and above the double bed was a bunk bed. Of course there was a ladder leading up to the bunk bed. Peter offered to sleep in the bunk bed. With some difficulty he managed to climb up the ladder, but he reckons, the bunk bed was comfortable enough for him.

        However, Ilse, his sister, was rather unhappy to share this comfortable double bed with me, a woman! Well, I did my best to stick to my side of the bed as to not interfer with Ilse’s space. I slept alright, but I guess Ilse had a bad night. At the time, we travelled with Ilse to different places. I think the next time we booked accommodation in the Formula One in Canberra, and Ilse asked that we should book an extra room for her so that she would have a bed to herself and Peter would not to have to sleep in a bunk bed. The rooms were not very expensive anyway. Ilse was very happy to pay for the extra room. She thought it was a very good idea to book two rooms instead of just one room. 🙂

        By the way, Gerard, I just love that picture of yours on the veranda with Milo beside you! 🙂

        If ever you feel like staying in Dapto, we can offer you a spare room with a double bed in it! 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Yes, bunkbeds can be alright but the bunkbeds in that cabin had a fixed ladder in the middle making it almost impossible to manoeuvre your body past the ladder into the available open space on either side of this ladder. I wonder if the designer ever tried getting into them? They could not have been designed any worse.

        Yes, I too would not find it enjoyable to sleep with someone else in a double bed.

        Thank you for your kind offer of a bed, Uta. I see how things go. I am finding the present time very trying and am up and down on waves of acceptance and grief. I try and not sit down too much. Helvi’s lipsticks and make-up in front of the mirror still gives me comfort, so does her handbag on the settee in the bedroom.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    I think you should have had your money returned. There’s not much choice between a narrow bunk and being concertina’d on a two seater lounge! I’m glad to read that you had a change of scene even if it was rather uncomfortable.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Jane. A change of scenery! Apparently the survival rates of spouses on their own after the death of one a partner are sad reading. Over 66% also pass away within 6 months as well. Loneliness is the main reason.

      The sleeping arrangement was bad but being with my brother and his wife made those couple of days more enjoyable than being on my own.

      I have to beat those odds and Helvi would want that. I am now doing everything to keep going and am doing as much as possible not to sit down too much. I cook, make my bed, wash up and walk with Milo.

      I joined again my adult education group U3A, and hope to keep writing.

      Liked by 2 people

  5. doesitevenmatter3 Says:

    Ha! You were brave, Gerard! And your description of visualizing getting in and out of that bed made me laugh! 😀

    YAY for the change of scene, and time spent with loved ones, for a few days! The veranda looks wonderful! Is that Milo? It doesn’t look like Milo for some reason? I need to put my reading glasses on. 😉

    We used to camp when our kids were little (they are all grown up with kids of their own now). I remember one old rustic cabin that had holes in the walls and was quite rickety and sported bunk beds…oh, and the showers and bathroom were quite walk away from the cabins. Us human-beans shared the showers and bathroom with birds, lizards, spiders, etc. Ha! 🙂

    As I am getting more well-seasoned, I miss my bed so much when we are traveling. And no more sleeping on the floor or ground for me. 🙂

    I can’t even imagine how VERY much you miss Helvi. 😦
    (((HUGS)))

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, sometimes discomfort can make you appreciate what one has. Just think of all those millions of refugees roaming around the world trying to re-build their lives.
      We did lots of camping when the children were young and with my brothers and sister we spent many a holiday around campfires and sleeping in tents.
      Hugs too.

      Liked by 1 person

      • doesitevenmatter3 Says:

        Yes, our discomfort-able times in camping (in, and out, of tents and cabins) is NOTHING compared to what refugees and homeless people go through every day. 😦
        MORE HUGS!!! 🙂

        Like

  6. janesmudgeegarden Says:

    Yes, I belong to U3A as well. It will keep you in contact with others, such an important aspect for you. When it starts up again next year, perhaps there will be some other classes you can join as well as writing. Do you have something to do over Christmas?

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, here in the Southern Highlands the U3A run many courses, including languages, book reviews, writing courses, cooking and much more.
      I don’t know what this year’s Christmas will bring. Perhaps the grandsons and my daughter will come here or I go to Sydney.
      I find Christmas generally over the top, a kind of shopping madness takes over. Most food gets chucked out and that’s a pity. People go nuts and they ram their trolleys into shins of other shoppers. Children get smacked and ambulances are busy picking up heart failure shoppers.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. berlioz1935 Says:

    Those bunk beds are designed with children in mind who are able to do the acrobatics to get into it.

    Today the Princes Highway, south of Ulladaal to Batemans Bay, is closed because of bush fires.

    Liked by 1 person

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Yes, Berlioz. The fires keep on burning and here too we have smoke filling the skies. And, no rain in sight. Shops are empty and the tax breaks are not finding their way into consuming. That is a good thing in my books.

      Like

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        The tax cuts go straight into the banks without the detour to the shops. The banks now have more money to lent and this is reflected in the surge in higher property prices. It is a devil‘s cycle.

        Liked by 1 person

      • gerard oosterman Says:

        Shopkeepers are wringing their hands, sobbing behind the hollow cash-registers. It can’t be easy, but how many t-shirts or shoes, scarfs, Gouda cheeses or refrigerators can one buy?

        Like

      • berlioz1935 Says:

        The people who have money don’t need to spend as they have every appliance already cluttering their homes. And the sizeable minority who have not everything they simply haven’t got the money. Japan is coping with this “no growth “ problem since 1986. There is enough money around in Australia but it is in the wrong hands.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. freefall852 Says:

    Interesting statistics you mention there, Gerrard..about the spouse survival percentage after one dies…My mother lived twenty years after my father died….and yes..they were married and lived together (for those who may see a floating joke in my situation.. 🙂 )….mind you, he was much older…but I remember something she said to me in hushed tones a long time ago…she said..: “It’s dangerous to love someone TOO much”…..I didn’t quite understand what she meant back then..but I think I am beginning to “get it” more now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • berlioz1935 Says:

      I think the loving too much is is a reflection of the fact that a couple have grown together emotionally and became one. Losing the other can have a crippling effect on the surviving spouse.

      Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      My mother too lived for many years after dad died AND she was two years older as well. Perhaps women survive better. My mum was more of a social creature than dad and made friends easier.
      Helvi and I were the best of friends, did not really talk a lot about love which both of us always thought was overrated.
      We did say the word ‘love’ and smiled a lot the last few days though.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Robert Parker Says:

    I think prepping with Shiraz, for a night roughing it in a bunkbed, is a good idea,

    Like

  10. auntyuta Says:

    Hi Gerard, I just wanted to mention that I started on a writing project for December. You can find our about here:

    https://auntyuta.com/2019/12/04/december-writing-challenge-prompts/

    Like

  11. beautifulbarbadosblog Says:

    The here and now are the happiest cause we got here. Back then is the happiest cause we were thrre!
    Ps. Could’ve put the bunk bed mattress on the floor…or veranda? Ummm

    Liked by 2 people

  12. shoreacres Says:

    Well, here it is — a comment sent to you from a fully unpacked, almost fully settled new home. I have a cup of tea, a clean kitchen, a decorated Christmas tree, and I’m slowly catching up with all I’ve missed while I was “otherwise occupied.”

    Your tale of the bunkbed is both hilarious and a little dismaying. I’m sorry you had to endure such tribulation, but you clearly survived. You’ve reminded me of the time I went to a festival in Louisiana with a friend. We shared a hotel room, and I hadn’t realized until about midnight that she snored. Loudly. I ended up sleeping in the shower that night. With the pillow and bedspread, it wasn’t too bad. We do what we have to do, in situations like that.

    You’ve reminded me, too, of the thirty years my mother lived on after my dad died. She certainly had some very practical adjusting to do, such as learning to put gas in the car. She’d never done that — or a lot of other things. But in time, she became more independent. And, interestingly, as she became more independent, she stopped worrying about me so much. Funny how that works!

    Like

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      We both knew much of the practical things of running the home but I wasn’t nearly as good when it came to making things look ‘right’.
      I was good at banking, paying bills and cooking.
      I had three of Helvi’s girlfriends over and for breakfast gave them pancakes and coffee.
      They stayed in a motel not far from here and came to visit a dear friend suffering with ms in a care facility, as well as me.

      Of course, butter milk in the pancake mixture makes for wonderful pancakes. I squeeze lemon juice over them as well.

      Glad to read your move went so well and that you are now unpacked and settled, Linda.

      Liked by 1 person

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