Who took the cookie?

justin2Hi Frog-Lovers. Here’s another guest post to keep you entertained in the run-up to Christmas. 

This time my guest is Justin Beaver. Regular readers will know how much I love all things furry and in this post we follow Justin’s adventures at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania where he meets a feathered thief. I’m noticing a definite anti-bird theme here, people. 

Dear Friends,

Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park is part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area. It covers an area of 1,612 square kilometres and is home to an abundance of native flora and fauna.


I read this wildlife notice at the ranger station at Lake St Clair this week. It was a timely warning but I could have done with reading it 48 hours before…


My journey through the national park started in the north, at Cradle Mountain. Dove Lake, at the foot of the mountain, is a glacial lake and the looping track around it provides wonderful views of the park. It was the perfect afternoon for hiking so I set off, stocked up with the necessary supplies for a leisurely stroll along the boardwalk.



I stopped many times along the way as the photo opportunities of the pristine lake and the jagged mountains rising up behind it were endless.




Halfway round the lake I came to a picnic area and decided that it was time for an afternoon snack. I was serenely contemplating the view and enjoying my scotch finger biscuit… (Editor’s note – I suspect that’s a custard cream but carry on, Justin)…


… when suddenly I felt something rush past me, flapping and scratching, and before I knew it my biscuit was gone! A yellow-eyed currawong had stolen it right out of my paw! He didn’t even bother to take it away but flew down to the ground nearby and polished it off with great relish.


It was then that I noticed this sign on the picnic table – too little, too late. My serenity had vanished along with my biscuit.


So when I saw the warning notice at Lake St Clair at the southern end of the park two days later I had a discomforting feeling of déjà vu.


Watch out for self-serve birds.


Justin Beaver describes himself via the medium of verse:

I am a singing beaver.
Justin is my name.
I have travelled near and far.
That’s my claim to fame.

Adventure is my passion.
My sweet tooth is renowned.
I’ll take up any challenge.
My tales will astound.

You can read more of Justin’s adventures here and connect with him on Facebook here!


The Hotel California Experience (all the BROWN)

If you’ve visited this lily pad before, you may know I’m a trainer in my other life. This means a bit of travel now and then. Ah, the glamorous life of the corporate traveller.

True, sometimes, I get to stay somewhere posh, where king-size beds and tiny bottles of body lotion abound.

Sometimes, I get to stay in places like this.

I think I just threw up a little at the memory.

Last week I had a brand new experience in the accommodation lottery. I’m coining it my Hotel California Experience.

I checked in late and Lurch was on Reception. Lurch in this case was called Mamun and had half the height (and half the charisma) of the original Lurch. This should have been my first clue.

Lurch is thinking “Fuckpants! Even I have more charm than Mamun.”
Image from

I was exhausted after a crazy few days of travel. Not exhausted enough, though, to not be taken aback by my room.

Decorated by skint minimalists in the 1970s.
When plywood and BROWN were chic.

So much BROWN.


 If you look very carefully you may spot some brown.

Yes that’s the view from the curtains back to the door.

Note the ceilings. Cosy. Not.

Fear not!
The bedroom was so cosy you could barely walk
between the bed and the wardrobe.

Obviously trying to make up for the lack of “cose” in the main room.

These are the instructions for turning on the TV. Yes a whole page of them.

Hotel California – you can check in but you can never teev
(because the instructions are too long)

Outside the room wasn’t much better. Things took an ominous turn on the balcony.


They’re “EXITS’. Not real EXITS.
We call them ‘EXITS’ but really they’re just a door in front of a blank wall and HAHAHAHAAAA YOU’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!


I also shouldn’t have looked down over the edge of the weird atrium in the centre of the building.

It didn’t look any better when I glanced sideways.


And to top it all off, when I went for a walk, I discovered I was clearly in a weird part of town.


All this severe oddness (and extreme BROWN), and this was all I had in the fridge:

Living the dream.

Travelling for work is just not what it’s cracked up to be, you know?  Even having instant Berocca and strawberry milk loses its glamour after a while…

What craptastic places have you stayed in when travelling for work?


The exploding nappy post

Yesterday I was reading the fabulous Mrs Woog from Woogsworld where she posted about her Roadtrip from Hell. I had a good chuckle about her travel story and the stories her other readers have shared in the comments. (Go have a read, and comment – there’s a some neat prizes being given away too).

I left my own travel story comment; the short version of an event that occurred almost exactly 6 years ago. It’s a story that’s been sitting on my iPhone “Writing List” for a good while. Mrs Woog’s post finally gave me the push to write it. (Thanks for the kick up the arse Woogsy).

I often hear childless people commenting that parents shouldn’t bring children on planes. Shame on you all.

I have few clear memories of the journey from Dublin to Melbourne. Post trauma induced amnesia I think. I am returning home, bringing my Irish partner and our 14 month old son here to live. The whole journey takes something like 32 hours, door-to-door. R and I don’t sleep on planes. Terrific.

Dublin, Birmingham, Dubai, Singapore, Melbourne.

Child is too big for a crib and too small to sit in a plane seat without help. So we take a car seat with us and strap that into each seat. We each carry a backpack and I have one extra bag. On each plane. All four of them.


The flight from Birmingham to Dubai is delayed by four hours. Now we have a hyper 14 month old to entertain for four hours.

We’re carrying loads of on board luggage. Spare clothes, nappies, bottles, instant formula, water, medicines, entertainment. The weight off all those accusing eyes saying “HOW DARE YOU BRING A BABY ON BOARD A PLANE”.

We think about walking but we don’t own any scuba gear. Or a submarine.


My face when we found out we had a 4 hour delay

A woman in front of the child turns around and asks us to stop him from kicking the back on her chair. We sympathise. We have no clue how to stop a 14 month old doing anything. It’s one of the great mysteries of science. Controlling kids.


It’s 8am and about 40 degrees. In a cruel twist there’s no aerobridge. So, a bag in one hand, backpack on back plus a car seat in other hand, I WALK out to the plane on the tarmac.

I walk up the steps to the plane and feel my hypermobile hips rotate, one after the other, as I climb. “There go my hips” I say faintly to my partner. He’s wrangling a feverish 14 month old monster and two bags himself.



Finally the last leg… nobody except the child has slept.

He’s feverish (and we are incoherent with exhaustion). Six hours from Melbourne, I smell THE SMELL. Yes, the child has filled his nappy. I pick him up and queue FOREVER for the only toilet with a change table. I stand in a faint green haze of fetid stench, avoiding eye contact.

Oh god please hurry!



Hint: The nappy in question looked nothing like this

I finally get there. Lock the door. Wrestle the pathetic excuse for a change table down – it’s more like a toothpick than a table, designed specifically to endanger your child and make nappy changing virtually impossible. I lay the child precariously on it.


The nappy has exploded. All over his front, up his back. Now smeared all over the front of my t-shirt as I’d been clutching him, waiting for the toilet, swaying in a sleep-deprived fugue of desperation.

Now I have to somehow clean him up – with only baby wipes – in a space barely large enough to move an inch in any direction. In the bin go his old nappy, almost a whole packet of wipes, and his clothes.

New nappy on. Sorted.

Now for me. When I’d packed the cabin luggage I had loads of stuff for the child. Then comes to horrifying realisation. I HADN’T PACKED SPARE CLOTHES FOR ME.

So now I’m washing out my shit-covered t-shirt in a plane toilet while balancing my child, for his safety, wedged against a wall with my thigh.

And now I’m putting my shitty wet t-shirt back on. And praying that nobody else can smell what I can smell.

I finally finish up and exit the toilet, to the icy stares of a dozen people waiting for the toilet.


I’m sure they were wondering what the hell took so long. Some might also be wondering why I took a clothed baby in and brought a naked baby out.

I stalk back to our seats. Partner asks why I’m wet. I fix him with a steely gaze and reply “Nappy explosion”. A fellow passenger beside us laughs.

I sit down and ponder, with six hours of shitty wet t-shirt travel left, how many years I’d get for strangling that guy. Preferably with my shitty wet t-shirt.

Next time you’re on a plane and grumpy that someone has brought a baby on board – put yourself in their shoes (or shitty wet t-shirt, if you like) and cut those parents some slack.