Category Archives: Everyday Life Blog

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Our First Family Holiday.

Christmas time means holidays and holidays means family road trips. As a family we just completed our first holiday road trip, and we didn’t do it by halves.


We’ve been on a couple of weekend camping trips together. As well as a short trip down to Newcastle, which we flew. This was our first proper holiday. A total of 6 nights, 5 of those sleeping in the camper trailer. Add to this a 800 kilometre drive to get to our destination. Done in one day.

Our destination Newcastle. Miranda grew up in this former steel city and was keen to show off  her home town and also catch up with family.

We prepared for the big drive with plenty of snacks to feed the worms and half a car full of toys and activities to keep them occupied. The kids not the worms that is.

We set off early. Carrying the kids from their beds into the car, trying not wake them.


Loaded up and on our way.

We made good time. Stopping regularly for toilet breaks and to stretch our legs. Generally the kids were good. Alec is use to be in the car for long periods of time. While Siannah says she “would rather fly next time as it takes sooooo long.”

To make life easier we stayed at Miranda’s parent’s place the first night. This saved having to set the camper up after such a long day in the car. We spent the night and the following morning catching up with family. After lunch we headed off to our camp for the week.

Our camp spot was south of Newcastle on the banks of Lake Macquarie. I don’t know much about the area but a reckon we got the best camp spot.


Getting some help setting up the camper.


The view from our camp site.


Play count the swans.


Sunset over the water. Could you ask for anything more.

The following day we had a rest day. Tested the swimming pool and had a bike ride.


Our first bike ride for the holiday. The kids were fascinated by the pelicans hanging around the local fisherman looking for an easy feed.

The following day we went on a little four-wheel drive adventure. Beach driving on the famous Stockton beach.fullsizeoutput_138b

Stockton beach and the Worimi Conservation lands, is a 32 km stretch of beach and coastal dune area north of Newcastle. With a permit you can drive the beach and some of the dunes. A lot of the dunes have been closed off to vehicle traffic in recent years. However a large section on the southern end has been set aside so the big kids can have a play in the sand.


On top of one of the large dunes.



The dunes are always on the move.


Driving on the beach was hard work. The sand was very soft.


This group of sheds is known as Tin city. They have an interesting history, including being part of the Mad Max movie. Tin City History


We stopped on the beach and set up the awning for some beach fun.

After we got off the beach we decided to head over to Nelson bay. We had afternoon tea at one of the trendy cafe’s at the harbour and had a small explore. As we were leaving I spotted a sigh to a look out. I can’t resist a good look out.


A birds eye view of Nelson Bay.


Um…. Not really sure what is going on in this picture.

The next day we did some more exploring but this time closer to camp. Miranda was keen to show us the local beaches that she grew up around.


First stop Merewether Beach.


We had a look at the Merewether baths and the explored the rock pools. It was far to hot to go swimmming.


Then a short walk along the memorial walk above the cliffs overlooking the city.


 Lunch on the harbour. I had fun watching the large ships being towed in and out of the harbour.

On our last two days in Newcastle we caught up with friends and family, and relaxed around camp.


Lots more bike riding was done.


The kids loved collecting shells.


 Did some fishing.


Two minutes later when their realised finishing take patience.

Unfortunately it came time for us to leave. Again we had to drive the trip home in one day. We packed up camp by mid morning and prepared ourselves for a long day in the car and a late arrival home. At least we were able to sit in the air-conditioned car to escape the hot weather everyone was experiencing.


We still made time to visit the big banana at Coffs Harbour.


And have a yummy treat. Yum Banana split.


Still on the road as the sun sets.


The kids tucked in and asleep as we pushed into the night.


This is a screen shot of the navigator I use. It was a big drive home.

Now we are home and able to look back on our holiday. We can confidently say our holiday was a success. Not everything went to plan. We had some extremely hot weather, the kids weren’t always angels and we had a small car problem. But as a family we worked together to over come the drama’s and have a great time. Miranda and Siannah survived living in the camper for a week. In fact I think I might have some budding campers on my hands.

Now where will our next holiday be. Maybe somewhere off the beaten track.


A Big Change.

As the year comes to an end. An update of the Kethel’s boys is well over due. It’s been a busy year and one of change.

As most of you are aware, Alec and I did a trip into central Australia. While we were preparing for new adventures and adventuring. A lot was going on in the back ground that would change the course of our lives forever.

Way back in early 2017 Alec got a new day care teacher. A lovely lady called Miranda. Or Miss Randa as Alec called her. A couple of weeks into Miranda’s teaching duties the topic of family’s was discussed in class. That afternoon during pick up Miranda pulled me aside. Alec had said “he didn’t have a mother.”

At five o’clock in the afternoon in the pre-kindergarten classroom, Miranda and I had our first of many conversations about a part of our lives that unfortunately we both had in common. Miranda had lost her partner and had a daughter not much older than Alec.

Looking back this was the pivotal moment when everything would change.

Over the next couple of months Miranda and I got to know each other, we often talked during pick up and drop off’s. For some reason I looked forward to picking up Alec more than usual.

We eventually went out on a couple of dates and continued to see each other outside of daycare. I would like to say the rest is history. But like a lot of things in life it is never that straight forward.

I was struggling with the change and Miranda also had her fair share of drama’s in her life. I found it very hard at times and later in the year I broke off the relationship. We still stayed friends and of course we still talked a little. She was Alec’s teacher after all.

I started planning our next big trip and the end of the year passed by with Christmas and the usual end of year celebrations.

In the new year Miranda and I started to talk a lot again. January is a tough time of year for both of us and we supported each other during these times. It was then we both realised we mean more to each other than just friends.

However we had a problem. Alec and I were planning to leave on our next trip in a few months with no set time to come home. We agreed to enjoy each other’s company until I leave and what happens after that who knew. At least we would get that short time together.

Four weeks before we were meant to leave on our trip. I found major problems with the caravan and had to cancel the trip. I was very disappointed not to be traveling but on the bright side I got to see Miranda more. A lot more as it turned out.

Alec and I were spending a lot of time at Miranda’s house. We all enjoyed being a family together. Even if it was only on weekends. It seemed the obvious thing to do was join both our small family’s together. But not till after the trip Alec and I were doing instead of the bigger trip that I had originally planned.

Alec and I left our home to conquer the Simpson Desert knowing that when we return it would be to a new home and a new beginning.


Attending a friend’s wedding together as a family.

As all four of us move forward in our lives together our unique family is constantly learning and changing as we work as one family. We have been blessed that both children get along really well.


It’s crazy how well these two get along……most of the time.

Slowly both children are accepting of Miranda and myself in the roles as mother and father. Even if we are called by our first names. We are very aware of not closing out either lost parent. We openly talk about them with and in front the kids. Neither one of us are trying to be replacement. But to be a mother and father figure that loves and cares about them in the absence of their respective lost parent.

Joining two family’s together no matter what the circumstances, is not aways straight forward and is a constantly evolving process. Some of the settle in process is not so fun. While some is. Getting to experience each others hobbies and interest’s is in the fun category. In our case Miranda’s daughter Siannah does ballet and we got to attend her end of year performance. Miranda and Siannah got to experience camping with us. With two small trips away already. Hopefully plenty more to come. Of course a big trip around Australia together has been spoken about. But first some more important things have to be sorted first.

The first one is to wait till our new baby is old enough to travel. That’s right Miranda is pregnant with our child and is due in May next year. All of us are very excited. Alec and Siannah are showing very little patience and want the baby now. In the mean time we are having lots of discussions about names for the baby.Resized_20181112_154418_9839

This new child will cement us as a family. But it’s more than that. Both Miranda and I alway’s expected to have more than one child with our respective partner’s, and having the joy of bringing up the children with a loved one and as a family. We didn’t get that. Both of us have been raising our children alone, lonely and dealing with loss. We have support from family and friends and thank everyone for the help. But it’s not the same as having the mother or father of your child there for help and support.

This time will be different. Miranda, Siannah, Alec, the new one and myself as one family. We are going to laugh, cry, joke, get angry, and love as a family. Go on epic adventures, play, work, go to school, and just live an amazing life as a family.

Next year we may not be crossing the Simpson desert or tackling Cape York but it’s still going to be one hell of adventure. Bring it on!!


 Happy Christmas and have a wonderful new year.










Alec’s First Flight


We arrived home a couple of weeks ago from our big Simpson desert trip. We didn’t get much of a chance to settle down before we were on another little adventure. This time a weekend down in Newcastle for a family wedding

Yes, I know I am behind in the blog posts. It’s just taking a little time as we have been flat-out since we got home.

The exciting thing about this trip is that this was Alec’s first ever time flying.

We made it into a long weekend. We flew down Friday night and came home Monday afternoon.


We got thought security ok.


I bite to eat before boarding.


Ready for take off. 

I wasn’t sure how Alec would go as he has always been terrible with loud noise. He is much better than he used to be. He balked at the airplane noise as we boarded so on went the ear muffs. He had them on for about half the flight.


Arrived safe and sound in Newcastle


Dressed up ready for the wedding.



The best part of the weekend for Alec was this awesome dessert table at the reception.


Time to go home. No problems for Alec. I think I might have a little jet setter on my hands.


Alec’s Birthday

Yes, it’s that time of year again. My son, best mate and the reason I get up every morning turns four. Wow, and what a four years it has been.



He doesn’t stop growing. Is this normal?

This year was a little different than other years. Alec is now fully aware of what his birthday means. So apart from the usual party, a couple of extra things were organised to spoil this amazing little man.

His birthday fell on a Wednesday. A work and daycare day. But that didn’t stop the celebration. At breakfast I gave him my present to him and then I made pancakes.IMG_3651IMG_3657


Just so happened to be crazy hair day at Kindergarten as well. Best day ever.

Cupcakes were organised to share with his Kindergarten friends and happy birthday was sung to him.IMG_3700

A party was planned down at the water front the following Sunday. The unpredictable weather over the last couple of weeks forced me to look at alternatives. Something that was more weather proof. We were able to use the local scout hall a couple of streets from home.

One of the things that was done different this year was inviting Alec’s friends from Kindergarten. To keep these three and four years old entertained I decided to in-list the help of Happy Feet Fitness. Happy Feet Fitness is a educational singing, dancing and game playing extra curriculum activity that Alec attends once a week at Kindergarten.

It was a awesome Birthday Party with plenty of friends both adults and children to help celebrate a wonderful boy.


                                     A Big Happy Birthday to Alec.



One Day It Will Happen

In the last post I alluded to the planning of a large trip for 2018. Well, we are going on a trip. But not the one I was planning. To explain I better start from the beginning.

The trip I was organising was to take 1-2 years traveling and working around Australia.
For the last 4 months I had been busy working toward leaving Easter this year. (2018)

I had replaced the Maverick with a new Patrol and was busy decking it out.
I also decided that a caravan would be better for this trip. The camper went up for sale and I started looking around for a caravan.

I had worked out the brand and model I wanted. It was just a matter of finding the correct one.
A lot were over my budget or the wrong configuration. However there was a van that had been advertised for some time and was really cheap. I didn’t give it any consideration at first as it look a bit crummy. But as time went on I decided it was at least worth a look.
It was being sold by dealer and was a trade in.
The interior was good but the outside needed work. Taking a risk I brought the van. At a good price of course.

So I now I was the proud owner of a caravan. It’s not flash but perfect for me and Alec.
I started to plan what was needed to get it into shape for the big trip. It was going to be a big ask with so little time and both the car and caravan needing lots of work.

Work on the caravan started at the end of January. I remove suspension first to give it an overhaul and then starting playing around with the electric’s.
A job I knew had to be done was to re-seal the exterior of the van. Their were signs of water leakage and knowing it is a old van I did expect a little bit of timber rot and water damage.

But it wasn’t till I started pulling the moulding off the bottom section that I realized I had a problem. A big problem. Some major timber rot in the frame. Eight weeks before we were planning to leave I had to make a decision if we would be ready in time. It was a simple question to answer. No, we weren’t going to be ready. I was gutted.
The following week I had to make many phone calls to cancel all the plans that I had spent the previous months organising.


Some late nights are required to get the work done.

One plan that I couldn’t and didn’t want to cancel, was Alec’s grandparents and my brother meeting me and Alec in Alice springs and visiting Ayres rock together. Flights and accommodation had been booked and paid for. So a little hard to cancel.
A week after I had canceled the big trip I had come up with a new plan and trip.

Last year I had looked into the possibility of including a Simpson desert crossing as part of a larger trip. However it’s not recommended by National parks to tow a trailer across the desert and the tag along companies just won’t let you.
Which creates a logistics problem. Having your caravan or camper on one side of the desert and you the other side once the crossing is completed. I decided back then that it just wasn’t possible with the trip that I had in mind.

But with the current situation I am in now. It’s the perfect time to do the crossing. So the plan now is to set the car up with basic tent, swags etc and spend 7 weeks on the road.

We will be spending Easter long weekend camping with friends down south. Then meet up with the tag along tour I have booked with in Cunnamulla. Do a 12 day tour which includes four days crossing of the Simpson desert. The tour finishing at Alice springs. Then meet up with family to play tourist and visit Ayes rock. Then a relative fast trip home.
Should be a awesome trip and something new for me and Alec. I have never done any desert driving before or explored that part of Australia.

As for the caravan and our big lap. The caravan won’t get touched till after the trip. I will  investigate how bad the rot is and the best way to fix it. If all the paneling has to be removed than it could be a good time to change around the interior. With a bit of time I could really make it something awesome. Ready for a big trip in the future.

Christmas and New Years Eve

Happy Christmas everyone. This year it was decided to do something different. So no camping at Mt Barney this year. Instead we rented a unit on Bribie Island.

For the people who are not from this part of the world. Bribie is a small sand island approximately an hours drive north of Brisbane. It is accessible by a bridge that crosses the Pumicestone passage. The water way between the island and the mainland.


Our home for Christmas 2017. Not to shabby. The unit was located north of the bridge on the calm side. That is the mainland in the distant.

The stay was only short. Just the 4 days during christmas. We made good use of the pool and of the beach. Other than that we didn’t do much else. It was good to relax and do nothing.


The Beach.


Getting in the festive vibe on christmas eve.


All ready for the big day. Yes, a lot of the presents were for Alec. A little spoiled I think.

Alec was very excited Christmas morning. We did stocking’s for everyone. A limit of $10 for each gift was agreed upon. Just a bit of fun really. We weren’t meant to buy presents for the adults except for the stockings. But it turns out we are all very giving people.


The night before we left a storm come over from the west. I managed to get a couple of photo’s of the sky lighting up. 

With Christmas over I went back to work for 3 days. Then it was time to celebrate new years eve. For a few years now I haven’t really bothered much with new year celebrations. Normally too tired, too much on and would prefer just to head to bed early.

This year is really no different. Except I decided to take Alec to have a look at some fireworks. At the Manly esplanade there are 2 firework displays put on for the new year eve celebrations. One at the family friendly time of 9 o’clock and the other at midnight. We obviously did the early show.

Instead of battling with the traffic I decided to ride the bike down. A night ride is something a bit different for us. It’s only a couple of kilometres and I could do with a bit of exercise after Christmas.


Riding at night though Wynnum.


A selfie on the bike.


The foreshore was busy with everyone waiting for the fireworks.



Alec loved the fireworks. Once he got over the noise. The ear muff’s help.

As I finish this blog post the year is coming to an end. As with the last few years I doubt I will bother staying up till midnight. It has been a busy year and I am glad it is over.

2018 is going to be a total different year than 2017. Planning is well under way to pack up and travel again. With a new four-wheel drive well into the build process and a different type of accommodation sitting under the car port. The adventure I have planned for Alec and my self for 2018 and beyond is going to be amazing.

I hope everyone had a great Christmas and I wish you all a happy new year.



Inskip Point Camping

A couple of weeks ago we manage to sneak a camping trip in. We did a long weekend at Inskip Point, the gateway to Fraser Island. As this is where you catch the ferry across to Fraser Island and is a easy three hour drive from Brisbane. This was our first camp on our big trip in 2016. Apart from being so close to Fraser Island it is a good spot for a beach camp in it’s own right.

I was hoping for a weekend of sun, beach and chilling. We got the beach and the chilling. But instead off sun we mostly got rain and cloud. But we made the best of it. Getting to the beach when ever the sun was out and doing a touch of site seeing.


We left home under dark clouds.


Our home for the weekend. Toke a bit to find a suitable site as it was busy.


Our first beach visit once camp was set up. Not he best weather for the beach.


Yippee sunshine. Lets go dad.


We did get some lovely sunshine. But only for short periods and mostly in the afternoon.


Alec had a fun playing in this hole dug by previous visiters.


We visited Carlo sand blow. Which is a short 2 minute drive from the town of Rainbow Beach.


We had a ball running around on the sand. Because of all the rain the sand was easy to walk and run on.


Of course we found a park. This one was at Rainbow beach and looked new.


We played tourist. This is the propeller off the Cherry Venture that ran aground on Teewah beach in 1973. The ship was not removed from the beach until 2007.


Yummy dinner. Taco’s.


We stopped in Gympie on the way home for lunch and to feed the ducks. I also had some other business to attend to in Gympie. The reason we decided to head this way for the weekend.


I had read that you shouldn’t feed bread to ducks. So we tried some grapes. Turns out ducks and swans don’t like grapes. But we had fun anyway.

Everyday Life Blog

Welcome to the new blog page. This page will be used to post pretty much anything I feel the need to share. Insights on being a single father, special events, story’s, small trips away or me having a good old whinge.

It will also be a way for many people who follow this blog to keep up with Alec and myself as we move forward with our lives.

So let’s get started. What has happen over the last year since we go back from our trip? One thing for sure it hasn’t been sitting back doing nothing. I don’t feel like I have stopped.

Once we arrived home, it was straight back to work for me. Alec went back to daycare. My work didn’t change. Still working 3 days a week. However Alec’s daycare did. Instead going to a “family daycare” at the carers home. Which is what Alec was doing before we left on our trip. I put him in a large day care centre instead. The flexible hours at the daycare centre worked better for me. I also figure Alec is now old enough to be able handle the rough and tumble of a larger centre. Alec settled in well and all his teachers adore him. Wrapped around his little finger comes to mind.

 At daycare he does two extra curricular activities . Happy feet. Which is learning though singing and dancing. And Ginger sports which is soccer based play. I also take Alec to swimming lessons once a week.


Now we were both settled into work and daycare the work really started. The first major job to be done is the one I have been dreading. Going through all of Peta’s belongings. This was a long and emotional process. I kept a selection of belongings that had meaning and or help paint a picture of Peta’s life. Not so much for my sake but for Alec when he gets older. I am hopeful that he will treasure these items and help him understand who his mother is. 

As part of the cleaning out and moving on process. I decided to download every photo and important documents to a cloud storage. The last thing I would want is to lose these precious memory’s. For weeks I uploaded photos. Close to 100 gigabytes worth of data. Although the majority were already in a digital format. I did have approximately 600 print photo’s. I got these professionally scanned. These photo’s ranged from baby and childhood photo’s of Peta to early photo’s of Peta and myself. I even found some photo’s from Peta’s university Japan trip that I don’t recall seeing.

Of course we had the usual family events and celebrations. Christmas at Mt Barney lodge, Easter camping trip with friends down near Evan’s heads, Celebrated Alec’s third birthday with a party at the park and climbed Mt Barney again. You can read all about here. Mt Barney Climb 2017

On a sadder note. I had a funeral to attend. My grandmother passed away. She will be missed. The funeral was held in Bellingen. I travel down by my self. Alec stayed with his grandparents for the weekend. It was only afterward that I realised that was the first time I had spent a night away from Alec.

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The world lost another amazing Woman.

While this was all going on I had another large decision to make. It involve a close family member in a way. What to do with the beloved Maverick. While travelling the old girl came down with a terrible case of rust. I got quotes on getting it fixed. Not cheap and no guarantee that the rust wouldn’t come back. So it was time to say good-bye to the old girl. But not before stripping out all the accessories. Some I can fit to the new car. The rest I sold. It was sad day to see her go. I had owned the maverick close to ten years. Peta and I had many adventures together in her and not to mention the big one with Alec. But I guess with everything in life you just have to let go.

 As the year draws to a close I will be glad to see the end of it. Hopefully 2018 will be more relaxing and adventure filled year. Bring it on.