January (and happy birthday to me!)

Today I turn 50, which I now realise looks far more daunting written down than said out loud (or maybe I've just been desensitised to the verbal version). It also doesn't feel quite real. For instance I just zoned out for a few minutes, hypnotised by the numbers 5 and 0 and trying to relate to them in some way. I don't even like 5, and 0 just reminds me of anorexic models and/or my bank balance. However, whether I want to or not, I am now in my fifties and shall remain that way for exactly ten years. Just enough time to start feeling comfortable before I have to exchange them for my sixties. Gulp.

But as part of my celebrations (which lasted for ten days and were known, around our house, as The Festival of Ilsa, or Ilsafest for short), six of us did the Lighthouse hike last weekend at Wilson's Prom. This involved driving down to the Prom, finding the correct overnight carpark (more difficult than it sounds), taking the shuttle bus up to a place called The Saddle, and then walking for about twenty kilometres down (and up) to the lighthouse. To make things a little more interesting we had to carry everything we needed for the night, and the next day, on our backs. The whole thing resulted in several lessons learned the hard way, such as:
1. Twenty kilometres is a very long way.
2. Backpacks are a pain in the ass (and shoulders and neck and lower back).
3. Those second helpings of turkey et al over Christmas were probably not a good idea.
4. Waving one's hands around a lá the robot from Lost in Space (you know - danger, danger) does not deter march flies.
5. March flies bite, and it hurts.
6. Visors are superior to caps only when one is unlikely to receive severe sunburn on one's scalp.
7. Sunburn on one's scalp is extremely painful.
8. Leanne can be quite mean when it comes to post-walk stretches (she can also get quite excitable about tuna).

But even with all the trials and tribulations, the truth is that we had a ball. This was assisted enormously by the fact that we brought some delicious food along for the evening and a good deal of alcohol. Scotch and chardonnay and champagne - all of which of course had to be drunk that night so that we didn't have to cart it back again. Relaxing with proud, well-earned exhaustion in one of the most beautiful spots in Victoria, watching the sun set over the wild, pristine coastline, and then retiring inside to enjoy a three course meal. Good food, good company, along with a challenge to body and soul - I can think of no better way to start my second half-century!