The Bunya Mountains are renowned for their lush rainforests, tranquil surroundings and beautiful views overlooking the South Burnett Region. However, once a year, this serenity is broken by songs from Glee and Eurovision, shrieks of joy from my sisters as they find the correct positions for those elusive jigsaw puzzle pieces, with those outbursts muffled only by my brothers random/obscure (yet very entertaining… and often quite loud) similes and commentary of the weekends happenings.
Yep, it’s that time of year again where my family and I migrate to the mountains for a weekend of fantastic food, board games, card games and other games that would be better described as theatre-sports – all of which are enhanced by copious amounts of wine.
Roughly a decade ago, my brother and sister-in-law discovered a selection of holiday cabins tucked away in the Bunya Mountains. I use the term ‘cabin’ loosely, as they really are just a bunch of spacious houses designed to sleep a large group of holiday goers. So, big bro and sis-in-law put the offer out to the family to see if anyone else would like to join them for a weekend away. The offer was accepted that first year and has been repeated every year since. The rest is history.
My family are an amazing and very special group of people. Amazing like the seven natural wonders of the world… and special like someone with a mild mental illness. But when we all get together, we’re kinda like a comedic version of the Brady Bunch (just without all the behind-the-scenes scandals).
To give you a better idea of a typical ‘Bunya’ night – we started by playing a game where one of my sisters has a story full of blanks. The rest of the family had to contribute nouns, adjectives and verbs to fill the gaps which almost eventuated in the Eiffel Tower somehow doing some inappropriate things.
We then found some interesting kitchen utensils, which turned into a game where we pretend these random items are something completely different and the rest of the group has to guess what they are. As a side-note, I just Googled a few words that loosely describe the game in the hopes of finding an actual name for the game, or at the very least, a more concise description of how it works… but it turns-out it’s not actually a game, it’s a type of therapy that’s used to treat autism. This explains a lot.
So anyway, we take a conical kitchen strainer and everything starts quite tame. One person puts it on their head and does a bit of a dance and we all guessed they were the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. Someone else holds the narrow end to their mouth and speaks loudly – it’s a megaphone. But before long, the unsuspecting sieve had somehow become part of Madonna’s metallic bra from Vogue. Since then, that strainer has been through the dishwasher a number of times, but after an evening with us, I think it still probably feels dirty.
After a few more bottles of wine, my nephew’s guitar came-out for a wholesome family sing-along. Songs were sung, and all was going well, but then somehow thing singing regressed into my brother and I attempted to do a spoken-word rendition of Dire Straits’ Romeo and Juliet while (very badly) impersonating Michael Caine.
Fortunately, these shenanigans are perfectly balanced by long sleep-ins, relaxed days spent slothishly lazing around a log fire reading, doing jigsaw puzzles and recovering from the amazing food my family makes.
Needless to say, it was a fantastic weekend and I can’t wait to do it all over again next year!